An asset management approach is being used to ensure that available budgets are spent in the most effective and efficient way to provide a best value service for maintaining Suffolk’s highways.
Further details of our approach are contained in the documents below:
- Highway Infrastructure Asset Management Policy (PDF, 44KB)
- Highway Infrastructure Asset Management Strategy (PDF, 306KB)
- Highway Infrastructure Asset Management Plan (PDF, 2MB) - Read our Highway Infrastructure Asset Management Plan page for more information
- Highway Maintenance Operational Plan (PDF, 728KB) - Read our Highway Maintenance Operational Plan page for more information
- Winter Service Plan (PDF, 1MB)
Future planned capital maintenance programmes
Details on how we manage highway infrastructure asset management can be found in our Highway Infrastructure Asset Management Policy (PDF, 44KB). In summary, we will implement cost-effective maintenance strategies which provide the longest life for the lowest cost. We will no longer be tackling maintenance on a “worst first” basis. More information on this approach can be found by downloading our document Suffolk Highways - Planned Capital Maintenance Programmes.
Suffolk's Resilient Network
In 2014, the Department for Transport (DfT) undertook a review of the resilience of the UK transport network to extreme weather events. This followed a period of extreme weather in 2013/14, which saw high winds and heavy rainfall. The DfT recommended “that Local Highway Authorities identify a 'resilient network' to which they will give priority, in order to maintain economic activity and access to key services during extreme weather”.
Our Suffolk's Resilient Network document sets out our response to this recommendation and aligns with our wider strategies, including the:
- Suffolk resilience severe weather response plan,
- Winter Service Plan (PDF, 1MB),
- Suffolk local flood risk management strategy; and
- Suffolk climate action plan (which details UK climate projections to 2080 to which may have a significant impact on the local road network).
The identification of the resilient network will enable appropriate investment and maintenance to be planned and prioritised. This will ensure that these strategic routes are usable, as far as is reasonably practical, by the public, local business and critical emergency services during severe weather. In addition, during times of extreme weather, Suffolk Highways first response will be to direct resources to this network ensuring it is clear from fallen trees, tackling flooding events and clearing snow.
The development of a resilient network directly supports our priorities to:
- support those most vulnerable in our communities (supporting access to key services); and
- develop Suffolk’s infrastructure and maintain roads (keeping critical routes open during extreme weather).
National Productivity Investment Fund
We have received £3.951M from the Government's National Productivity Investment Fund (from the £185 million awarded nationally) which we will be spending on highway maintenance in Ipswich and on busy rural roads in Suffolk.
In Ipswich, this funding will be spent on strengthening roads in the town centre used by buses in order to reduce damage to road surfaces and the services running underneath them. Some of the roads in the town centre are not very deep and emergency works to repair the road or the underlying pipes and cables can cause significant disruption.
Outside Ipswich, this money will be spent on strengthening rural roads regularly used by heavy goods vehicles to access the "A" road network, many of which have evolved over time rather than being designed for these types of vehicle. Spending money on these routes will enable them to better withstand continued use by larger vehicles, thereby ensuring improved resilience and a lower likelihood of future major repairs (and the related disruption the repairs would cause).
Local Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund
Highway assets have a definitive lifespan after which they decay and lose functionality. It is clear that some of this country's existing highway assets may now be moving to more costly stages of their natural life-cycle with some components already reaching the end of their serviceable life. In addition to the natural ageing process of highway infrastructure, the life-cycle of the asset has in places deteriorated at a faster rate than perhaps originally envisaged, sometimes as a result of past under-investment, as well as severe weather events which have compounded the problems.
The Local Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund was first announced by the Government in the 2014 Autumn Statement. The purpose of the fund is to enable local highway authorities in England to bid for major maintenance projects that are otherwise difficult to fund through the usual budget allocations they receive.
Suffolk County Council has submitted a bid to the Department for Transport additional investment in our structures assets on our resilient network (see Suffolk's Resilient Network network section on this page). Our bid application can be found below.