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Roadworks responsibility

Roadworks throughout the county are carried out mainly by us, utility companies, developers and contractors working on behalf of these organisations.

They all must apply to us, as the highways authority, for permission to carry out the work.

We carry out planned road repairs and reactive maintenance work. Planned work includes things like surface dressing and resurfacing work, improvements to junctions, changes to road layouts such as widening and extending lanes and upgrading traffic lights and pedestrian crossings.

Reactive work includes emergency repairs, for example if a road or other highways structures have been damaged in an accident or a retaining wall has collapsed. And it includes fixes in response to reports of road defects such as potholes, damaged kerbs and manhole covers and blocked drains.

Sometimes the work can be carried out by managing the traffic without closing the road. This may be single file traffic controlled by temporary traffic lights or manual stop, go signs.

At other times the road may need to be closed completely in which case signposted diversions are put in place.

Utility companies - water, electricity, gas, telephone and broadband providers – have a legal, known as statutory, right to carry out repairs to existing groundworks or to put in new infrastructure.

However, they must first submit a notice to us requesting permission to carry out the work. We assess this request and grant permission providing all relevant conditions are met.

Developers do not have a statutory right to work within the highway but we will give them permission to do so providing they meet any required conditions.

We also co-ordinate roadworks, taking into account its own planned work and applications from utilities and developers.

This is so that, if the road is closed, as much work as possible can be carried out by different organisations on the same stretch of road in one go, to keep closures to a minimum.

If we receive multiple applications for planned roadworks in a similar location at the same time it will take into account any knock on effect for traffic if diversions are in place, before it grants permission.

When emergencies happen, such as burst water pipes, gas leaks or severed cables, we have to allow the work to be carried out immediately, which may cause unforeseen disruption to traffic.

Anyone with issues with the actual work, should contact the relevant organisation. It should be clear on any signage who is carrying out the work.

Concerns about how the traffic is being managed, for example if temporary lights are not working properly or diversions are unclear, should be reported to us.

If it's not our own work we will get in touch with the appropriate organisation and ask them to sort out how the traffic is being managed, reassess the siting of signposts or request additional signs.


In Derbyshire the main utility companies are:


  • Western Power Distribution tel: 0800 0568090
  • Electricity North West (High Peak) tel: 0800 1954141
  • Northern Power Grid (North East Derbyshire) tel: 0800 375675


  • Cadent tel: 0800 111999


  • Severn Trent Water tel: 0800 7834444
  • South Staffordshire Water (South Derbyshire) tel: 0800 3891011
  • United Utilities (High Peak) tel: 0345 0750713
  • Yorkshire Water (North East) tel: 0844 8481099


  • British Telecom tel: 0800 800150


  • Virgin Media tel: 0345 454111
  • Vodafone tel: 0333 3040762 or 02 0344 8090202

Derbyshire's 8 district and borough councils are not responsible for looking after the county's roads but they do carry out some work on our behalf. This includes litter picking from the side of roads and cutting back verges.

Derby City Council is responsible for looking after roads within the city boundary.