Our Resilient Highway Network is defined as the portion of our highway network that is absolutely vital to maintaining economic activity and access to key services during extreme weather emergencies and other major incidents such as industrial action or other local risks. The purpose of defining this network is to identify the most critical routes and associated highway assets, such as bridges, so that planned whole asset maintenance on that part of the network may be prioritised. In doing so, we can ensure that our defined Resilient Highway Network is less prone to failure and in turn, improve the county’s resilience to extreme weather events, industrial action and major incidents. We maintain and treat the Resilient Network as a priority in the event of any such incidents and focus our resources on keeping roads open for use, where practicable.
The greatest short term risks to the highway network availability are snow, ice and flooding. During snow and ice, we focus our resources on de-icing and clearing snow from the Primary and Secondary gritting routes. These roads are given priority in order to maintain economic activity and access to the strategic network, key locations, centres of population and services such as hospitals and crematoria during extreme weather. It is the Primary and Secondary gritting routes that define the Resilient Network.
The Resilient Network and the identified critical assets on these routes such as bridges and other structures, are incorporated into the maintenance regimes of all highway assets which may, depending on the asset, give rise to;
- Additional maintenance interventions to ensure the asset continues to function (for example, an increased drainage cleansing frequency)
- The prioritisation of existing maintenance resource to mitigate the onset of deterioration of the asset; and fast tracking any works already in the programme to reduce the risk of failure of the asset
Worcestershire County Council (WCC) has established robust systems in place to respond effectively to severe weather emergencies which is are documented in our Highways Emergency and Resilient Network Plan. To ensure that our approach to managing a Resilient Network is effective and cohesive, we have put in place a framework for its delivery comprising the following partnership groups; the Local Resilience Forum, Worcestershire Emergency Planning Tactical Control group, Worcestershire Severe Weather group and the Highway Flood Adaptation Programme Board.
The Resilient Network is reviewed routinely as part of the annual Winter Service Operations review process and is updated after any relevant event. If you have any queries about the Resilient Network, please contact us.