Temporary traffic signals are used to safely control the flow of traffic when roadworks, or other works reducing the available road space, are carried out. If the works are only for a very brief period of time on a minor road, STOP/GO boards may be used.

You must liaise with and apply for permission from Bolton Council before placing and/or using temporary traffic signals or controls on the highway. The placement of temporary traffic controls without authority may constitute an offence under the Highways Act 1980.

Problems with temporary traffic lights

Although temporary signals are closely monitored by the contractor on-site, sometimes problems will occur.


  • The lights aren't working or a lamp has failed
  • The signals are causing excessive traffic delays by changing too quickly or not quickly enough
  • The equipment has been knocked over, moved, stolen or vandalised

.. you should in the first instance contact the operator or contractor who will be best placed the rectify the issue. There should be an information board on site telling you the company name and their telephone number.
If you cannot contact them directly, contact Bolton Council using the details on the tab above.

Applying to place temporary traffic control on the highway

You must apply for permission to place traffic signals or to use STOP/GO boards on the public highway. Read the guidance notes below then download and complete the application form.

  • The application form must be returned with a clear scale plan showing the location of the works and the required position of signal heads.
  • The applicant is responsible for all temporary traffic management, planning the work and risk assessments. The applicant must take into account site-specific factors such as schools, zebra crossings, existing traffic signals and commercial and industrial activity when planning the work.
  • The operator of the temporary traffic signals is responsible for adjusting green times at sites that are subject to high traffic flows to minimise delays and balance queues.
  • The provision, operation and maintenance of all signing, lighting and guarding associated with portable signals must be in accordance with the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, "Safety at Street Works and Road Works - A code of practice" which should be read in conjunction with the Chapter 8 of the "Traffic Signs Manual". The supervisor for the works must be qualified as required under Section 67 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991. Operatives responsible for signing, lighting and guarding must also be qualified under Section 67 of the same act.
  • All portable traffic signal equipment must conform to the latest issue of Department for Transport Specification TRO 111.A for traffic controllers and TR2147A for detectors.
  • All items of equipment (controllers, signal heads and microwave detectors) must be fitted with a label as shown in the Department for Transport publication "An Introduction of the Use of Vehicle Actuated Portable Traffic Signals". 
  • An emergency 24 hour telephone number of the applicant's representative must be displayed on an information board at every site.
  • For notice periods, see the table at the end of the application form. Applications will be refused and returned if there is insufficient notice or if other required information is not provided.
  • The operator must immediately notify the Council of any changes to their proposals and any change of information originally supplied on the application form.

 The application form can be downloaded here

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