PREDICTIONS OF WINTERY WEATHER ARE BAD NEWS FOR LOCAL ROADS

Weather forecasts of freezing air to sweep over the UK by the end of October could prove to be bad news for those local roads that have not be well-maintained believes the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA).

Weather forecasters WXCHARTS are predicting that Artic air from a north-westerly direction will sweep over the UK and see temperatures drop to freezing lows of 0C by the end of this month. Meanwhile, the Met Office has also predicted that north-western parts of the UK could see snow falling by the end October.

This is bad news for those highway authorities who have failed to properly maintain their road networks and for the motorists who use them as the freezing temperatures could result in more potholes.

Potholes are caused by water or snow freezing in cracks in the road surface. The expansion of ice results in damage and breaking up of the road surface which is made worse by repeated freeze-thaw cycles. The late start to the preventative maintenance season in some authorities due to Covid-19 led to smaller programmes being completed this year, with many unable to carry out all their planned, preventative maintenance. This is likely to lead to more expensive reactive patching over the winter.

“Cold icy weather has a detrimental impact upon roads resulting in more potholes where planned proactive maintenance has not been carried out, particularly where budget has meant smaller programmes than required by carriageway asset lifecycles over a number of years ” warned Paul Boss RSTA chief executive.

Boss called upon the government and local authorities to work together and invest the necessary funding to carry out planned programmes of road maintenance rather than expensive reactive pothole repair: “Patch-and-mend defies economic logic”, said Boss. “It costs only £3 to £5 per m2 to surface dress and maintain a road but costs on average over £50 per m2 to repair potholes. Expensive, emergency patch and mend repair of potholes is not a sensible use of highway budgets unlike the implementation of planned programmes of maintenance.”

DYER & BUTLER JOIN RSTA

Dyer & Butler, the multi-disciplined infrastructure engineering contractor serving the UK’s highway, railway, airport, marine, waterway and energy sectors has joined the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA).  The company is part of the well-established MGroup.

With a history spanning over 40 years, the company has established long term relationships with many clients leading to a large proportion of repeat business. Of particular relevance to the RSTA is its experience as a Highways England approved contactor where Dyer & Butler provide a comprehensive range of specialist concrete solutions through Tier 1 maintenance contractors and delivered by its directly employed teams, using the company’s own specialist equipment.

Simon Giret of Dyer & Butler said: “As one of the nation’s leading national civil engineering specialist contractors, we are pleased to become a member of the RSTA and look forward to sharing industry knowledge and best practice and advancing effective road maintenance solutions. Welcoming Dyer & Butler as a new member, Paul Boss, RSTA Chief Executive said: “Dyer & Butler’s impressive expertise makes them a valued new member. Their can-do approach and willingness to share and further best practice is particularly welcomed.”

RSTA WELCOMES NEW MEMBER GAIST

Gaist, the international roadscape and highways technology company, has joined the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA).

Gaist has developed a detailed and auditable highways surveying and mapping system that provides an accurate detailed map layout of the whole roadscape environment – including full and part detailed network condition maps. They provide carriageway and footway condition maps, bridges, lighting columns, utilities, drainage, other ironworks, road markings, as well as other infrastructure assets. The company’s ongoing research means that its surveying and mapping systems are some of the most advanced of their kind in the United Kingdom and overseas.

Of becoming a member of the RSTA, Steve Cobb, Gaist Head of Business Development, said: “We already have a good working relationship with the RSTA through our work with LCRIG and partner local authorities and welcome the opportunity of becoming a member in order to share knowledge that can further develop the potential of road mapping for effective road maintenance and management.”

Welcoming their membership Paul Boss, RSTA Chief Executive, said: “Gaist is a good-fit to the RSTA membership. The company’s focus on how research and innovation can result in optimum road network solutions echoes the ethos of ourselves and of our membership. We look forward to their input to the RSTA as it seeks to raise awareness of how best to maintain the road network.”

R3 JOINS THE ROAD SURFACE TREATMENTS ASSOCATION

R3 Ltd, the specialist pavement testing consultancy for roads, runways and racetracks, has joined the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA). Its expertise based on over 30 years of academic research in pavement surfaces will be a positive addition to the Association’s membership experience and knowledge.

R3 was initially established to bring years of academic research and knowledge from the highways laboratory at Ulster University to a wider industry audience. It has since developed to provide specialised pavement testing and consultancy services to transportation and motorsport industries throughout the world with a particular focus on roads, runways and racetracks. In particular, the consultancy offers onsite and laboratory material testing, testing for failing pavements, new material product development and transportation research. All of which are underlined by beneficial knowledge transfer across disciplines.

Commenting on becoming a member of the RSTA, Dr Campbell Waddell, R3 Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to become members of an association that, like us, has a core objective of forwarding innovative highway solutions. We look forward to working with the association and fellow members to deliver ever more effective road surface treatments.”

Replying, Paul Boss, RSTA Chief Executive, said: “R3 provides a wealth of pavement knowledge and expertise that will be a positive addition to the RSTA. We warmly welcome their becoming RSTA members.”

RSTA INCREASES IT’S MEMBERSHIP

The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) is pleased to announce three new members: R3, Dyer & Butler and Gaist. RSTA is the industry focal point for road surface treatment awareness, competence and best practice. Its membership includes private contractors and local authority in house contractors, materials and equipment suppliers, test houses and asset management survey and systems suppliers.

The diverse range of the three new members underlines the wide base of RSTA membership. R3 are pavement testing specialists, Dyer & Butler are multi-disciplined civil engineers focused on transport infrastructure and Gaist is an international roadscape and highways survey and mapping company.

Paul Boss, RSTA Chief Executive said: “We welcome R3, Dyer & Butler and Gaist as new members. Their membership further widens and enhances the industry expertise and experience base of the RSTA and underlines its position as the focal point for the road surface treatment sector.

We look forward to their input in forwarding effective road surface treatment solutions.”

NEED FOR WELL TRAINED HIGHWAY WORKFORCE NEVER BEEN HIGHER

The need for a well-trained and competent highways workforce has never been higher as the impact of budgetary cutbacks, maintenance backlogs and extreme weather takes an ever increasing toll on the local road network. With local authorities having to reduce or even disband their inhouse training programmes, the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) continues to develop its CPD training courses and assessment services for both operatives and asset managers and engineers.

Against the background of budget restrictions there are other drivers for a well-trained workforce. Road maintenance continues to have a high priority with the public and they expect right-first-time maintenance and repair solutions rather than poorly carried out patch-and-mend. In addition, local authorities when forwarding their case for road maintenance funding must demonstrate the competence of their decision makers and workforce. The need for accessible, industry recognised highway engineer and operative training has never been greater.

Increasingly, local authorities are turning to industry associations to provide training programmes. Established as an industry sector focus, the RSTA is well placed to provide a training resource. The Association has invested in and continues to develop a comprehensive CPD approved training programme specific to the road maintenance sector. The programme offers training in surface dressing, slurry surfacing (microsurfacing) and high friction surfacing. In addition, there are seminars showcasing all available road surface treatments. Where appropriate the CPD training courses are linked to National Highway Sector Scheme 13 for the Supply and Application of Road Surface Treatments and RSTA is also able to assess operatives at NVQ Level 2,  supervisors at  NVQ Level 3 and managers at NVQ Level 4. RSTA deliver courses all over the UK and often these are in-house courses for highway authorities, consultants and contractors which provides economies of scale benefits. RSTA has also developed a Diploma in Road Surface Treatments with the University of Derby and the Institute of Asphalt Technology (IAT).

“If road maintenance and repair are to be successfully undertaken then the right surface treatments need to be correctly specified and carried out by well-trained and competent decision makers and workforce”, said Paul Boss, RSTA Chief Executive. “That is what ensures quality of work, best practice, improved health and safety, better value and increased efficiency.”

In addition, RSTA is working closely with organisations such as LCRIG to deliver specific training events that facilitate best value through collaboration by allowing local authorities to train together. The RSTA also collaborates with Xais Asset Management to provide skid resistance policy courses for local authorities.

Boss commented: “We encourage local authorities to collaborate and get engineers together from neighbouring authorities as well as their own staff.  We can provide training courses within local authorities’ own premises for a fixed cost. Not only does this save on associated travel and hotel costs by taking the course to the learners, but by local authorities grouping together to get higher numbers of attendees for a one off fixed cost, the cost per learner is reduced, making those training budgets go further.”

He concluded: “Despite having to reduce training budgets, local authorities must  prove the competence of their decision makers and workforce for additional funding and to meet the expectations of the public. RSTA is working with them to avoid the potholes by plugging the training gap.”

ROAD SURFACE TREATMENTS AUTUMN TRAINING PROGRAMME LAUNCHED

The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) has launched the Autumn 2020 Road Surface Treatments training programme for highway engineers and operatives.

Courses provide a detailed technical introduction to the theory and practice of road surface treatments including slurry surfacing (Microsurfacing) and surface dressing.

The courses meet the requirements of the road surface industry’s National Highways Sector

Scheme 13 for the S(NHSS 13)

In addition, the Diploma in Road Surface Treatments, developed by the RSTA and Institute of Asphalt Technology (IAT) with the University of Derby, is open for new students in October.

The courses for Autumn include:

  • Surface dressing, Milton Keynes, 10th and 11th November 2020.
  • Surface dressing, Yorkshire, 1st and 2nd December 2020.
  • Slurry surfacing (Microsurfacing), Milton Keynes, 8th December 2020.

“Providing industry-recognised training is an important part of delivering the RSTA’s objective of forwarding the competence of the road surfacing industry’s workforce,” said Paul Boss, RSTA Chief Executive. “In addition to the training programme, our Training and Assessment Centre enables a wide range of Road Surfacing NVQ levels 2-4, for operatives up to supervisory/management level. The only way to comply with NHSS13 for the Supply and Application of Road Surface Treatments and to gain the correct Blue CSCS card with the RSTA logo and relevant NVQ level 2 is to go through the RSTA Training and Assessment Centre. The Assessment Centre also offers various other NVQs in different disciplines to ensure our members can comply with other sector schemes within highways.”

For details see: www.rsta-uk.org/training

UNIVERSITY DIPLOMA IN ROAD SURFACE TREATMENTS

The University of Derby has launched its 2020-2021 Diploma in Road Surface Treatments. The diploma is the first university level academic qualification for the road surface treatments industry.

Due to start in October, the nine month course has been developed jointly by the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) and the Institute of Asphalt Technology (IAT). It consists of three modules – paving materials, treating surfaces and maintaining pavements and contracts management – and aims to provide the graduate with a detailed knowledge of road surfacing and related activities.

Application is via direct contact with the University of Derby, email: mineralproducts@derby.ac.uk or tel: 0800 678 3311

USEFULNESS OF POTHOLE AUDIT QUESTIONED

The Road Surface Treatment Association (RSTA) has welcomed the Department for Transport’s (DfT) proposed pothole mapping audit and hopes sufficient funds to carry out maintenance and repairs will be forthcoming.

DfT has announced that it will work with local authorities, highway data and mapping company Gaist and on-road businesses such as Deliveroo, Uber, Tesco and Ocado to identify pothole hot spots. This will be first-of-its kind audit of potholes in England. It aims to direct where action against potholes is most needed.

“The DfT initiative to provide a comprehensive nation-wide map of potholes is to be welcomed,” said Paul Boss, RSTA Chief Executive. “However, a map telling where the potholes are will be of little use if local authorities do not have the funds to fix them.”

Since 2010 the government has provided over £1.2 billion solely to help repair potholes on the local road network, however, Boss points out that the latest Asphalt Industry Alliance Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance Survey (ALARM) estimated that it would take 11 years and cost £11.4bn.

“The additional pothole funding equates to £120 million a year and that falls far short of the funding necessary to address the plague of potholes resulting from decades of under investment in the local road network,” said Boss. “Furthermore, the proposed audit is reactive. Whilst we have to fill potholes in the short term, local authorities need certainty of long term funding to ensure they can plan and programme road maintenance that will prevent potholes from forming in the first place.”