Island Roads issued this update on their Website this week in light of the Stay at Home Protect the NHS message. Ed
We recognise these are unprecedented times and very difficult for everyone.
Now, as always, safety remains our absolute priority and we continue to take our responsibilities to managing the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak very seriously.
Although a large part of the population has been asked to stay at home during this period, it is important that we keep the roads and surrounding areas properly maintained so that the key people who need to get to work, especially our NHS staff and emergency services, are able to do so without delay or increased road risk.
Island Roads employees undertake a key role for the Island by keeping the highway network safe and free flowing.
Continuing to undertake important tasks
We are therefore continuing to undertake important tasks such as repairing road defects, keeping the streets clean and bins emptied, cutting the grass so that it does not reduce visibility and keeping the traffic signals and street lights working.
We will also continue to deliver other maintenance and improvement tasks as these all contribute to a safer network for vehicles and pedestrians.
Followed Government advice
Our work falls within the construction sector where government advice is to continue with these activities. We have followed this advice and have adapted all our activities to comply with Public Health England Guidelines.
We have separated our operational crews into two shifts and have staggered the start times to help keep our teams separate.
Set clear requirements
We are now also operating with only one person in each vehicle for 99% of our activities and have sourced additional vans to make this happen. We are helping our crews with safety equipment and providing guidance and support on hygiene standards.
We have also set clear requirements on distancing from work colleagues and it is expected that this advice will be complied with for all but a limited number of activities where this may not be achievable.
Varying times for work being carried out
As a result of all the above, the public may see our services being undertaken at different times – typically earlier or later in the day. This also gives us time between shifts for additional vehicle cleaning.
We will seek to minimise noise at these times in particular and while we apologise in advance for any disturbance these temporary new measures may cause, we are sure people understand this new way of working is in the interests of maintaining both the safety of our workforce and the community.
Suspending highway and footway maintenance programmes
Furthermore, given all the above, we are suspending our highway and footway maintenance programmes, which require larger teams to work in close proximity, until it is safe to reinstate these activities.
We continue to work on the St Mary’s Junction Improvement scheme in line with current government advice to keep construction sites progressing where possible. We are also mindful of the impact the project has, under usual circumstances, on many people’s journeys every day and so we are keen to continue to deliver this in line with the agreed timetable.
Keeping latest health advice under daily review
However, work has to be balanced against the latest health advice and we are keeping this project under daily review. Fortunately, we are currently in a phase where required manpower levels are not as high as they have been during other elements of the scheme.
This has made social distancing easier to achieve.
While the information above outlines the current situation, naturally there is a risk that in the coming days and weeks, our staff become unavailable either through sickness, through self-isolation or because they have caring duties.
In anticipation, we have undertaken contingency planning with our partners and supply chain to ensure we have the required staff and resources to undertake our responsibilities.
Continuing reporting problems
To assist us with managing any necessary highway reports, we would also encourage you to make use of our online reporting facilities.
We continue to take highway related calls via our normal phone number 01983 822440. This team also deals with any contact and responses relating to highway emergencies, so we would encourage people not to make contact for items that are non-essential or low priority.
Appreciate your support
We continue to keep a close eye on the advice from the Government and our management team are regularly evolving our daily delivery approach to stay aligned with this continually changing situation.
We will continue to keep our website updated with the latest relevant information.
We appreciate your support and understanding during these times and hope you all keep safe and well.
Government Covid-19 guidance: Stay alert and stay safe
Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently (video tips).
It is recommended that you maintain at least a two metre gap (about 6.5ft) from people who are not from your household.
Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service that can tell if you need medical help and advise you what to do.