Best value involves balancing costs, risks, opportunities and achievable benefits. It's more than what we do to highways; it's also about how our highways network performs to meet the needs of Suffolk’s residents and road users.
An asset management approach will help us to better understand:
- the assets we currently have,
- the condition the assets are in, and
- what funding will be needed to maintain the assets
It's widely accepted by central and local government, that taking an asset management approach helps with long term planning, setting clear standards and being cost effective.
Click each of the sections below to reveal more information about Highways Asset Management and the proposed changes.
What is a highways asset?
Highways assets are all the parts that make up the highway infrastructure, including (but not restricted to):
- public rights of way
- bridges and structures
- street lighting
- signals and traffic management systems
- signs and road markings
- fences and bollards
- weather stations
Why are we implementing an asset management approach?
Highway infrastructure is the most valuable asset owned by local authorities in the UK. It's vitally important for our local economy and the quality of life of Suffolk's residents and road users.
The significant levels of funding for the management of our highways asset are under continuous scrutiny, with increasing pressure from the government and the public for transparency, accountability and more efficient use of the limited resources available.
Asset Management is recognised as being the most cost efficient way of managing a highway network.
Central government has been encouraging this approach for some time, and now links a large element of its highways funding to local authorities, to taking this approach.
We have partially worked in this way for some time, but we're now looking to fully implement the approach, taking on board the best practise that has developed in this area over the last 10 years.
What are the potential changes resulting from adopting a highway asset management approach in Suffolk?
An Asset Management approach will better inform how we maintain the highway infrastructure in Suffolk.
Suffolk Highways' focus will be to prioritise routes that are used more frequently to connect communities and business areas, and to maintain these to the highest possible standard with the resources available.
Even using the most efficient form of highway maintenance, there's currently not enough money provided by central government to carry out everything that is required, and difficult decisions will need to be taken.
This will mean that we will often treat roads and pavements with a preventative treatment when they appear to be in a reasonable condition to avoid them deteriorating and needing more expensive, and potentially more disruptive works in future.
Lower priority roads, which are in very poor condition will not necessarily be treated first, so you may see particular sections of road that are in a poor condition left unrepaired for longer.
Preventative treatments can be a tenth of the cost of more comprehensive repairs. Roads will always be maintained in a safe condition, e.g. potholes will be repaired.
There are certain asset materials that provide the same function, but have greatly varying maintenance costs, e.g. pavements are generally bituminous, precast concrete slabs or paving stones. The latter two are much more liable to damage and expensive to repair, so the presumption under the proposals will be to replace these at the end of their economic life with flexible bituminous materials. However these more expensive materials will be considered in some areas, for example conservation and prestige shopping areas.
Cost effective minor repairs of concrete slabs and paving stones in all locations will continue.
The aim is also to improve how we communicate with utility companies to ensure that, where practical, they do not dig up roads where significant works have just taken place.
The Asset Management approach also supports better communication with stakeholders, helping people to develop a better understanding of the contribution highway infrastructure assets make to economic growth and the needs of local communities.
We will improve the information available to the public on this website, this will include publishing:
- a detailed programme of works for the year ahead
- a list of likely schemes for future years
A Highways Infrastructure Asset Management Plan has been developed which provides more detail on Suffolk Highways' proposed new approach to asset management.
You can see the plan by clicking the Read the draft Highways Infrastructure Asset Management Plan section below.
Read the Highway Infrastructure Asset Management Plan
The following Highways Infrastructure Asset Management Plan has been developed which provides more details on Suffolk Highways' proposed new approach to asset management.
You can read the Highway Infrastructure Asset Management Plan: full version (PDF, 3MB).
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