The network of Devon routes afforded a special status, which allows us to restrict the timings of roadworks to reduce traffic disruption at busy times, is being reviewed.
Many of our routes are classed as ‘traffic sensitive’ and this allows us to ensure that the timings of roadworks don’t affect traffic flow during rush hour for example.
Through our Permit for Works Scheme we are able to specify that roadworks on these routes, on Topsham Road for example, should take place at a specific time to ensure the free flow of traffic.
This not only helps us manage the network, by reducing traffic queues it reduces carbon emissions from ‘idling’ vehicles.
The council review this network every five years to ensure these routes are consistent with current driver habits and are ‘fit for purpose’.
Devon County Council is launching a Traffic Sensitive Streets Review 2023 to ensure that the ‘right’ routes have this special designation and continue to be effective
This year the review to ensure that the network is ‘compliant’ is particularly important because of statutory changes to the system expected to be made by the Department for Transport (DfT).
A DfT consultation has indicated when routes can be classed as traffic sensitive and the kinds of works which would require a permit may be changed.
This may affect whether some of our existing routes, which could include winter gritting routes, routes in some tourist areas, and routes that hold special events such as carnivals, can continue to be classed as ‘traffic sensitive’.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “We are required to review the traffic sensitive network to ensure it is compliant and is consistent with current driver habits.
“It may mean that works promoters, including our own contractors, are required to follow adjusted restrictions on working practices and timescales.
“The overall objective is to ensure there is early communication and better planning for works on these routes to minimize traffic disruption and not to prevent works from taking place.”
The proposals are being presented to statutory consultees through public consultation from June.