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London’s utility bosses agree action plan for less disruptive roadworks

The six largest utility companies working in the capital have agreed to team up with Transport for London (TfL) to trial innovative working methods that could speed up road works.

All utility companies have agreed to work with TfL to share knowledge of good practice and explore innovative working methods such as quick curing materials and innovative “core and vac” technology which would allow work to be carried out under the carriageway without the need to dig up the road. They will also work with all London boroughs to support a more consistent approach to providing permitting information and meeting environmental health requirements.greement has been reached

The move came after senior directors from TfL and the six largest utility companies in London held a groundbreaking meeting aimed at further reducing the number of disruptive and badly managed roadworks on the capital’s road network. It followed on from mayor Boris Johnson’s meeting with the chief executives of the six utility companies late last year. Together, they have agreed new, specific targets to work towards by the end of the year. These include initiatives within their own businesses such as an increase in joint working and shorter work durations, which will help ensure that any disruption to Londoners is kept to a minimum.

TfL said that Johnson’s “battle” against roadworks has already led to a 32% reduction in the hours of serious and severe disruption caused by roadworks on red routes in 2010/11 when compared with 2009/10.

Core and vac

Core and vac involves gaining access to utility company apparatus by drilling a hole into the road, removing a core of bound road material and then removing any unbound material using vacuum extraction. After completing the works, the unbound material and the core are then replaced to provide a surface that is flush with the rest of the road. It is a technique that has the potential to significantly reduce congestion caused by roadworks - the technique could be considered as ‘keyhole surgery’ of roadworks.

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