What is Highway Maintenance?

In the UK, our roads are a key national asset. They provide the foundation for our economic activity and, on a smaller level, ensure that our day-to-day activities run smoothly and safely. Without roads we would not see economic developmental growth in our society nor would a large majority of us be able to access employment, social, health or education services. In short, roads are very important. 

Because of this importance, keeping roads safe and operational is of the utmost importance. Which is where road and highway maintenance comes in.

What is Highway maintenance?

Road maintenance is work that takes place on various roads. These roads could be motorways or smaller, backroad paths. This work is undertaken to ensure that these roads – whatever kind of road they are  – remain strong, safe and efficient. 

Road maintenance takes many forms, from simple pothole repair, which can be done in less than an hour, to re-applying highway surfacing for an entire motorway. Whatever the job, the overarching aim of this work is to keep road users safe, manage traffic and maintain upkeep. This ensures that the road can continue to function efficiently for as long as possible. 

Forms of road maintenance can include the following: 

  • Pothole repair
  • Road resurfacing
  • Pavement resurfacing

Road maintenance also extends to the repair and unblocking of gullies or drains in a road, replacement of grid and manhole covers, replacement and repair of road signs or street names, and maintenance of green spaces (such as hedge cutting and weeding).

What are the 3 types of road maintenance? 

There are 3 types of road maintenance. These are:

  • Emergency maintenance
  • Reactive maintenance
  • Preventative road maintenance

What is emergency highway maintenance?

Emergency road maintenance is, as its name suggests, a form of road maintenance  undertaken in an emergency. It is normally required should something catastrophic happen that has an immediate and tangible impact on the flow of traffic or safety of road uses. 

For example, the most common example of emergency road maintenance you’ll probably see in the UK is due to heavy rains. This phenomena can cause flooding, which disrupts the entire road network. Flooding can leave considerable debris in the road or cause considerable damage to the road’s surface. Because of this, flooding causes a very real risk of injury or even death for road  users and pedestrians. 

As you might imagine, emergency maintenance requires addressing immediately to prevent injury and/or disruption. In almost all cases, road maintenance services and local authorities have contingency plans to support them in dealing with emergency road maintenance swiftly.

What is reactive highway maintenance?

Reactive road maintenance happens as a result of a problem. The most common form of reactive road maintenance is pothole repair. As we’ve written about previously, potholes form gradually over time, where road surfacing has cracked and eroded to form a depression or hollow on the roadway. In order to fix this, permanent pothole repair is required.

As you might imagine, reactive road maintenance can be very costly –  particularly if what starts as a small issue is left to become a much larger (and potentially more dangerous) problem. As a result, those bodies that are responsible for the road try to keep reactive road maintenance to a minimum and practice preventative road maintenance where possible.

What is preventative highway maintenance?

Preventative road maintenance involves planning in order to avoid reactive road maintenance where possible. It means that roads are regularly inspected for damage and preventative repairs are carried out to avoid accidents or more extensive work in the future. One example of preventative highway maintenance is adding street lighting to trunk roads, carriageways and footways. By adding visibility to the road, the risk of serious damage is minimised. 

Preventative road maintenance is what keeps roads ticking over, traffic flowing and road users safe. Measures include surface treatments, highway preservation and road emulsions.

Highway maintenance with BituChem

From emergency to preventative highway maintenance, whether you need help with pothole repair or surface dress, BituChem road repair solutions are the first choice for many authorities that are responsible for the upkeep of our road network. Our high-quality service ensures a long term solution for highway repair. 

To discuss your project requirements or find out more about any of our highway solutions, please contact us.