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Keeping County Durham's highways safe this winter

Published December 02, 2022 10.45am


With darker nights and more wintry weather, residents are being urged to report highways issues to help keep the county moving.

We are delivering our annual programme of work to maintain the county's roads and footpaths, with teams from across the authority also on standby to deal with any emergencies caused by bad weather.

Keeping people safe and moving

Cllr John Shuttleworth, Cabinet member for highways, rural communities and community safety, said: "Our priority is to keep people safe and moving at all times of the year. That is why it is vital that we carry out a regular programme of works to reduce the risk of flooding, road closures and traffic incidents caused by surface water or standing water freezing during the colder months.

"We would also ask that residents help us to keep our roads in good condition by reporting any issues with flooding, overflowing gullies and street lighting faults in their neighbourhood. They can also be reassured that we will be out and about across the winter to ensure our roads and footpaths are safe."

Keeping gullies clear

Following recent heavy rainfall, the vast majority of roads remained passable with care with only a small number having to close because of flooding.

Each year, we clean around 120,000 gullies countywide with routes planned and programmed in advance to ensure the works are as efficient and cost effective as possible.

Where reports are received from residents relating to drainage issues, teams will make an assessment as to how best to respond based on a number of factors including: whether there is a risk of flooding to a property or road, whether there is a need to close the road based on safety grounds, the location of the problem and when it is next scheduled to be cleaned.

Street light programme 

Highways preparedness - street lights

A street lights operative (left) with Cllr John Shuttleworth, Cabinet member for highways, rural communities and community safety, ahead of a routine inspection.

We also manage and maintain 80,000 street lights and more than 5,000 illuminated traffic signs across the county.

On average, over 99 per cent of all street lights work as planned at any one time and to minimise the risk of problems going undetected, we carry out routine inspections on the whole network.  

We have also invested in converting most street lights to low energy LED units which are more efficient, use less energy and are better for the environment, supporting our ambitious plan to tackle climate change and achieve net zero in its operations by 2030.  

To report a problem with a street light, visit Street lighting and illuminated traffic signs.

To report flooding on a road or pathway, residents can visit Do it Online.

There is also more information about how we maintain roads at Roads and pavements.