Clashes between motorists and workers have forced the construction firm responsible for ongoing road works in Lincolnshire to enforce new communication measures.
Kier Group is part of Lincolnshire County Council’s Highways Alliance which provides maintenance and repairs to the county’s 5,500 mile road network – the fourth largest in England.
The last year has seen an increase in road improvement schemes of 30% across the county thanks to a £17 billion country-wide government investment.
This has also however led to a surge in the number of “unacceptable” incidents between motorists and road workers, the county council revealed.
As many as 20 cases of physical or verbal attacks have been reported by Kier highways employees in the last two years.
To help reduce the number of these incidents and gain a better understanding from the public, Kier has produced a ‘toolkit’ for its colleagues, designed to help improve communication between those using the road and workers during times of road or lane closures.
The toolkit, which has been operational for several months, gives best practice guidelines around a number of areas, including; engaging with road users, communicating plans to residents in advance and safety advice on managing road closures.
As part of the initiative to create a safer working environment, a series of information boards are being used to remind road users of the dangers the workforce face and to ask motorists to abide by the traffic management in place.
Since the toolkit was launched, highways teams state that perception and communication with road users has considerably improved.
Managing director for highways at Kier, Nigel Dyer, said: “The significant investment the government is making over the coming years in our road network will not only dramatically improve the quality of our roads, it will also make journeys better for everyone.
“However, to get this point we have to carry out extra road works and so we would ask the public to please bear with us through these times.
“Each job is planned to minimise disruption but we appreciate it can be frustrating when there are delays caused by these works, and this is why we’re improving communication between our highways teams and road users.”
Councillor Richard Davies, executive member for highways at Lincolnshire County Council, added: “It’s important to remember the long-term benefits we will all enjoy once improvements are made. The rise in incidents to road workers is concerning but the excellent work Kier is doing to improve communication between road users and their staff is a great step forward in helping to reduce this.
“We are also committed to improving our communications with motorists and have recently made improvements to our website – it is now easier than ever to find out what works are happening in your district so please visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/transport-and-roads.”