Author Archives: Sarah Knott

NEW ERA AT RSTA

Paul Boss has now taken up his position as the new Chief Executive of the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA). Paul has over 30 years’ experience within local authority highways and since 2005 has been the Highway Asset Manager looking after strategic, tactical and operational highway asset management in Staffordshire. He joined Amey in 2014 as part of the Staffordshire County Council/Amey Infrastructure+ Strategic Highway Partnership and managed the teams responsible for the design of structural, preventative and structures schemes within the Partnership.

Rory O’Connor, who was acting as Interim Chief Executive, is the RSTA Chief Technical Officer. Rory has worked closely with the RSTA for 10 years as a Director of RSTA member company Tarstone Surfacing Ltd in various capacities as RSTA Executive Committee member, Chairman – Surface Dressing Sector, and participant in numerous RSTA committees and technical groups including BBA/HAPAS, BSI and CEN committees.

Paul and Rory will lead RSTA in meeting head-on the challenges facing the road surface maintenance industry with a proactive approach that will turn these challenges into opportunities by increasing dialogue with government and industry stakeholders, furthering supply chain collaboration with highway authorities and developing association services for the benefits of RSTA members.

To this end, RSTA will continue to be the focal point for the sector. Central to that will be the development of best practice guidance and industry codes of practice plus the provision of pertinent programmes of industry training and assessments to ensure a qualified and well-trained workforce.

ROAD INDUSTRY WELCOMES NEW ROAD INVESTMENT FUND

The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) has welcomed the government’s announcement to invest additional funding to repair over 11 million potholes.

At the Government’s daily coronavirus briefing on Thursday 14th May, Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, announced a multi-billion pound road and railway investment to help England recover from the economic impact of the Covid 19 crisis. This includes a £1.7 billion Transport Infrastructure Investment Fund to improve roads, repair bridges and fill in millions of potholes. In addition to this fund, the government is also accelerating over £175 million worth of road and rail works during the quieter period as people follow the guidance to avoid unnecessary travel. The Department for Transport reports that the number of potholes was “enough to tarmac a road stretching a third of the way around the earth.”

Welcoming the announcement Rory O’Connor, RSTA Interim Chief Executive, said: “The additional funding is welcomed both for helping to address the £11.14 billion local road repair backlog and for its recognition of the importance of having a well-maintained local road network for the national economic well-being.”

OXFORDSHIRE’S USE OF ROAD SURFACE DRESSING IS TO BE WELCOMED

The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) has responded to criticisms of the use surface dressing to repair and improve roads in Oxfordshire.

West Oxfordshire district councillor Dan Levy had criticised the use of surface dressing to restore and improve road surface skid resistance and prevent potholes from forming complaining that the initial loose chippings are unpleasant for cyclists when they are thrown up by passing vehicles.

Surface dressing involves the spray application of an emulsion binder onto a prepared road surface followed immediately by the application of chippings and roller compaction. Part of the application process is the requirement for temporary speed restrictions for 2 – 3 days to prevent chippings from being torn out of the new road surface before being properly embedded. It is during this period that road users who fail to abide by the advised speed restrictions report problems of loose chippings.

“Surface dressing plays an important role in keeping roads in a safe condition,” said Rory O’Connor, RSTA interim chief executive. “For cyclists, its use to repair and improve road surfaces is particularly welcomed as it seals the road and so prevent potholes from forming. Deteriorating road surfaces and potholes, as every cyclist will agree, can be particularly dangerous.”

The cycling organisation Cycling UK reports that from 2007 to 2018 a ‘poor or defective road surface’ was recorded by police as being a contributory factor that resulted in the death of 26 cyclists. The organisation goes on to report that 12% of all legal claims handled by its Incident Line are due to poor road maintenance and it calls for local authorities to “devote more of their resources to road surface renewal and resurfacing programmes.”

O’Connor continued: “Far from criticising Oxfordshire County Council for undertaking its surface dressing programme, the Council should be commended for investing £32 million to maintain and improve its road network thereby ensuring that it is safe for both cyclists and motorists.”

More information regarding road surface dressing for motorcyclists (and cyclists)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=2dqowi3JXhg&feature=emb_logo

NEW INDUSTRY GUIDANCE FOR ASPHALT PRESERVATION

A new industry guidance note from the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) and ADEPT provides best practice guidance and technical information for the application of asphalt surface course preservation treatments.

Asphalt preservation involves the spray application of a sealant treatment onto bituminous-bound road surfaces that consequently restricts water ingress and inhibits binder oxidation. By providing a protective seal, the treatment can significantly extend the resilience and performance life of an asphalt road surface. The technique can be used as part of an asset management strategy designed to maintain network condition by keeping green roads in green condition for longer delaying the need for reactive maintenance. Specified in clause 950 in the Specification for Highway Works, asphalt preservation is an effective and cost-efficient road surface treatment that has been used in the UK since the 1990’s.

The new guide outlines the process of asphalt preservation and highlights the responsibilities of client, contractor and installer concerning planning and co-ordination, health and safety, environment and work execution. Reference is made to the relevant regulations, standards and training qualifications.

Welcoming the new guidance, Rory O’Connor, RSTA Interim Chief Executive, said: “The new guidance note provides information on the right way to apply asphalt preservation treatments and gives practical advice to both client and contractor. Its use will ensure best industry practice that will result in the successful application of asphalt preservatives.”

The RSTA /ADEPT Guidance on Asphalt Surface Course Preservation Treatments is available as free download at: https://bit.ly/2KYL5Eg

ROAD MAINTENANCE SECTOR WELCOMES GOVERNMENT’S RECOGNITION DURING COVID 19 CRISIS

The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) has welcomed the Government’s support and recognition of the importance of continuing essential road maintenance works during the current challenging times resulting from the Covid 19 pandemic.

A letter from Baroness Vere of Norbiton, Transport Minister for Road, Buses and Places, has been sent out to the UK’s highway construction and maintenance sector. The letter thanks highways maintenance and construction workers for “doing an outstanding job under extremely challenging circumstances” and emphasises the need to maintain the resilience of the road network. In particular, Baroness Vere called for the industry to not only, whilst ensuring proper social distancing guidance, adopt as close to a ‘business as usual’ approach as possible, but to examine opportunities to accelerate road works whilst roads are quieter than normal.

Rory O’Connor, RSTA Interim Chief Executive, responded: “The recognition of the essential role that highway maintenance has in keeping Britain moving is welcomed. A well-maintained road network is critical for ensuring the safe travel of NHS staff and emergency workers and for the efficient movement of medical supplies, food and other goods.

The surface treatments season runs from April through to September and so it is essential that highway maintenance programmes are implemented before the winter. Therefore, whilst ensuring safe working practices and social distancing, our sector is continuing to work under exceptional circumstances and I would like to echo Baroness Vere in thanking our members and their staff for their continued dedication and commitment.”

NEW APPOINTMENTS AT ROAD SURFACE TREATMENTS ASSOCIATION

Paul Boss has been appointed to the position of the Chief Executive of the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) and will take up his new post on 1st July 2020.

Rory O’Connor has been appointed to the position of RSTA Chief Technical Officer and will take up his new post on 1st May 2020. Until the 1st July, Rory will also act as Interim Chief Executive.

Paul has over 30 years’ experience within local authority highways and since 2005 has been the Highway Asset Manager looking after strategic, tactical and operational highway asset management in Staffordshire. He joined Amey in 2014 as part of the Staffordshire County Council/Amey Infrastructure+ Strategic Highway Partnership and managed the teams responsible for the design of structural, preventative and structures schemes within the Partnership.

Paul is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institute of Highway Engineers, Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation, and Member of the Institute of Asset Management.  He is also Vice Chair of the UK Asset Management Board and Chair of the Midland Service Improvement Group Asset Management Task Group.

Rory has worked closely with the RSTA for 10 years as a Director of RSTA member company Tarstone Surfacing Ltd in various capacities as RSTA Executive Committee member, Chairman – Surface Dressing Sector, and participant in numerous RSTA committees and technical groups including BBA/HAPAS, BSI and CEN committees.

Rory is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation, Fellow of the Institute of Highway Engineers and a Fellow of the Institute of Asphalt Technology.

Of his appointment Paul said: “These are challenging yet exciting times for the road surface maintenance industry and I am delighted to lead the RSTA’s team in facing those challenges head-on. I believe that is it possible to turn challenges into opportunities via increased dialogue with government and industry stakeholders, further supply chain collaboration with highway authorities and a strong emphasis on developing association services that improve the business environment of our members.”

Paul’s views to further develop the RSTA were echoed by Rory who said: “The RSTA is the focal point for the road surface maintenance industry, and I am delighted to be part of promoting the Association’s championing of best practices and raising industry standards through the development of codes of practice, training and qualifying the workforce and ensuring safe working.”

NEW RESEARCH SHOWS POTHOLE REPAIR TARGETS BEING MISSED

The potential danger to cyclists of poorly maintained roads has been highlighted by new research which found that only one-in-ten local authorities are meeting their own target times to fix potholes and road defects.

The research from Cycling UK found that out of 85 local authorities who responded to Freedom of Information requests, only 1-in- 10 successfully repaired all reported potholes. North Tyneside Council was one of the most effective authorities, repairing all 39,258 identified potholes on time between 2015-19, while Wakefield City Council was the worst performer, managing to fill only 13% of reported potholes on time. While no part of the UK performed well, 1 in 6 English authorities meet their target times of three weeks for non-urgent potholes. However, not a single responding authority in Scotland or Wales achieved this.

While potholes are a real problem for everyone who uses the roads, they pose a particular risk of injury to cyclists. At least 448 cyclists have been killed or seriously injured on our roads over the past 10 years, with three deaths in 2018, the last year with available data. The charity has suggested that this is only the tip of the iceberg, with most crashes never reaching the statistics if no police officer attends the scene.

“Cyclists are amongst our most vulnerable road users. For them a deterioration in the road surface can result in serious, life-changing injuries,” said Mike Harper, chief executive of the Road Surface Treatments Association. “There is currently a £9.7 billion backlog of local road maintenance, Despite the Chancellor’s recent Budget pledge to provide an additional £2.5 billion to maintain local roads over the next five years, the backlog, continued cuts in funding and the ever increasing use of roads means that local councils are fighting a losing battle and find it difficult to keep pace with the level of road repairs required.”

He continued: “The injection of additional funding is welcomed. However, the government needs to examine how to provide assured, long-term funding that will allow local authorities to carry out programmes of preventative maintenance that would keep roads in good condition and stop the potholes from forming the first place.”