A utilities company has been fined £1,500 after Bolton Council took it to court for closing part of a street during road works without permission.
Bolton Council successfully prosecuted Electricity North West (ENW) after the company’s sub-contractor breached legislation relating to the safety of road users while carrying out road works for the company.
ENW pleaded guilty to two breaches under the New Road and Street Works Act 1991 at Bolton Magistrates’ Court on May 22.
The court was told that a company called Excalon had been carrying out work in Station Road, Blackrod, in August 2016, on behalf of ENW.
In September, a complaint was made to the council that work was not being carried out in accordance with the agreed arrangements.
The left hand slip road from Station Road had been closed and traffic was turning left from the ahead only lane when the pedestrian phase of the crossing was in use.
The court heard that in advance of the work, during a meeting between ENW, Excalon and the council, there had been no discussion or approval for such a lane closure.
If a lane closure is required, the company needs to apply for a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order at least eight weeks in advance of the work. The court was told that Electricity North West had failed to apply for a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order.
Council officers who visited the scene noted that traffic management was “very poor” and “dangerous”.
They noted that there were no advisory signs to advise motorists that the left hand lane turn onto Blackrod Bypass had been closed.
As a result, drivers who wanted to turn left onto Blackrod Bypass as they came down Station Road in the ‘ahead’ lane had to make a 90 degree left turn onto Blackrod Bypass, just metres from the signal controlled pedestrian crossing.
The council said that these manoeuvres could have put pedestrians using the crossing in danger, as they would not have expected a vehicle to make a left turn onto Blackrod Bypass from the ‘ahead-only’ lane.
No one from Excalon had arranged to have the pedestrian crossing facilities disabled or had informed the council of the lane closure.
Following the prosecution Cllr Nick Peel, Executive Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: “We need people to understand that we will take action if companies operating in Bolton breach Street Works legislation.
“We take offences such as these extremely seriously. Lane closures need to be planned carefully as they have implications for public safety.
“We always try and work with utilities providers and their contractors but we have no hesitation in prosecuting those who have a flagrant disregard for regulations and put members of the public at risk.”
The company was also ordered to pay costs of £1,020 and a victim surcharge of £150.
Mark Williamson, Electricity North West operations director, said: “The safety of our people and the public is our priority during the hundreds of streetworks projects we carry out in the region every week, working cooperatively with key partners.
"We’re sorry we’ve not lived up to the required standard in this case and we continue to reinforce safety with all our contractors and employees every day.”