The Public Utilities Street Works Act 1950 (PUSWA) was designed to regulate the relationship between those having statutory powers to lay apparatus in a street and those having control of management of the street. Despite having been in operation for over thirty years, the resulting road openings and their reinstatement have been a constant source of complaint from the public, road user organisations, members of Parliament, elected representatives of highway authorities, and officials having responsibility for management of highways. The Act, whilst imperfectly understood and applied, appears inappropriate or incapable of regulating the relationships between the parties, particularly in respect of costs, penalties and enforcement to the detriment of highway authorities. The situation is likely to worsen as a result of legislation giving rise to larger numbers of bodies and individuals having power to break open highways, the need to replace aging and obsolete apparatus and demand arising from new technology particularly in the field of communications. The traditional role of undertakers and highway authorities as responsible bodies providing a service at public expense is being changed with increasing emphasis on cost accounting and the need to show profit on return on capital. Funds for capital and maintenance works of both highway authorities and undertakers have been subect to constraint. Claims for damages arising from imperfectly maintained or reinstated road surfaces have increased as a result of legislative changes and the grater awareness of the public to their rights and willingness to pursue litigation. Whilst the best endeavours of the PUSWA conference (a standing committee of representatives of undertakers, and highway authorities, chaired by the D.Tp at national level) has been the forum for discussion and voluntary agreement between the parties, its decisions have not been binding on the area boards and authorities each of which is autonomous. (Author/TRRL)

  • Availability:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was presented during Seminar H, Highway Construction and Maintenance at PTRC's 11th Annual Summer Meeting, Sussex University, England, 4-7 July 1983.
  • Corporate Authors:

    PTRC Education and Research Services Limited

    110 Strand
    London WC2,   England 
  • Authors:
    • DANIELS, R H
  • Conference:
  • Publication Date: 1983

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 67-75

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00382651
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • ISBN: 0-86050-112-4
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Volume P240
  • Files: ITRD, TRIS
  • Created Date: May 30 1984 12:00AM