It's all in a day's work for our road repair teams
While the majority of residents in Oxfordshire are spending most of their time at home, there’s a group of people helping to provide a wide range of vital services from health and care to food deliveries.
Our road repair crews normally work all year round to repair potholes, resurface roads, unblock drains and install signs and lights to keep the county roads and paths in good shape.
But what are they up to at the moment? The answer is that they are working as hard as they always have, but now they are also adding social distancing to their routines.
So what is it like working on the roads at the moment?
Camaraderie in in all weathers
Richard O’Connor is one of our road operatives who works for us through our contractors, Skanska, at the Deddington Highways depot.
He explains: “I have been doing this job for 19 years and a normal day can involve anything from repairing defects on the carriageway, patching and grass cutting.
“I really enjoy the camaraderie with the team, and being able to deliver jobs on time-that gives me satisfaction. Also, the variety of work we do means you don’t get bored!
“One of the toughest things is working in all weathers. Whatever the season or conditions there’s always work to be done.
“The most noticeable thing at the moment is that there’s less traffic on the road, so it is easier to do the work. We’ve also seen a number of additional safety measures brought in to our day to day operations to reduce spread of the virus and help protect us and the public.
"Work activities have been reviewed to bring in social distancing where it’s safe to do so, we are all using separate work vehicles, regular use of antibacterial wipes and sanitiser and additional PPE when needed. Key Worker signs get put out at each job to inform the public that we are doing essential work.
“The public that we have seen have on the whole have been friendly, courteous and polite.”
Brilliant team rising to the challenge
County Councillor Liam Walker, Cabinet member for highway operation and delivery, said: “Richard is just one member of a brilliant team that is out there working hard for Oxfordshire residents.
“The work these people do contribute to people’s safety and doing it under present conditions is certainly a challenge.
“Transport and infrastructure work is going to be key to our economic recovery. If you see anyone working on the roads – whether it’s council teams or people working for utility companies - they are performing a vital service.”
From 23 March to 15 May our crews fixed 6506 potholes.
In the last month the surface dressing team, who you can read more about here, have:
- Resurfaced an area equivalent to 80 Wembley pitches (600,000m2)
- Improved 110 miles of road
- Worked 9,200 staff hours making the most of the good weather
- Used 11,000 tonnes of stone and 1.1 million litres of binder material
Road repairs still rolling
Work to deliver the county council’s massive spring and summer list of repairs is continuing apace with structural patching and resurfacing taking place across Oxfordshire.