By Ken Atkinson
Lately, road upkeep has develop into a excessive profile subject, possessing to the better commute strength of most of the people and to the effect of roadworks on trade following the swing clear of rail delivery. road upkeep was a low-key job, however it is now being handled as a major attention within the total price of offering the countries infrastructure. Roads have assumed an more and more very important function during this approach, quite up to now 30 years because of the dual carriageway development programme
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Court awards will increase in future too. Increased awards are already evident in major cases to cover the cost of future treatment for injured parties and inflation will also play a part in increased awards. The situation calls for the introduction of management schemes which will provide a suitable defence in court. With the amounts of money involved often not known by highway authority staff this topic can no longer be relegated to a low priority in the overall plan of the authority. Hard decisions need to be taken to ensure that the total bill is kept as low as possible and to ensure that public money is managed in the best possible way.
Legal position In general terms the legal position in the whole of the United Kingdom, regarding-the maintenance of roads and highways, is the same, although the provisions are contained in different legislation. In England and Wales Section 41 of the Highways Act 198023 imposes a duty on highway 22 HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE HANDBOOK authorities to maintain roads in a satisfactory state of repair. In Section 58 of the above Act there is a 'defence' for the highway authority to show that the road was kept in reasonable repair having regard to the traffic using it.
A counterbalance may be achieved through the New Roads and Streetworks Act 1991 which should transfer more claims to utilities. However, the courts in the past have often seen the highway authority as ultimately or partially responsible for all defects with the result that awards are often divided proportionally between all the parties concerned with the highway authority having to pay part of the compensation awarded. Court awards will increase in future too. Increased awards are already evident in major cases to cover the cost of future treatment for injured parties and inflation will also play a part in increased awards.