What is a resilient highways network?
A network of roads (also called a resilient highways network) that we give priority treatment to during extreme weather like:
This is to ensure vital access to key locations and is separate to our priority gritting routes (find out more about gritting roads).
Our resilient network covers around 40% of the total distance our roads cover, in Central Bedfordshire.
How it works
In extreme weather, it's our priority to keep the roads on our resilient network open. This helps you get to important places like:
- railway stations
- key food shops
- petrol stations
- town centres
- industrial estates
- business parks
The network also helps emergency services get to where they're needed.
When will the resilient network be used?
We usually use the network for gritting roads between October and April. The routes were chosen as they have the highest volumes of traffic and the greatest risk of accidents occurring.
We're responsible for the construction and maintenance of non-trunk roads, cycle ways, street lighting, bridges and structures and other highway assets.
How we choose which roads are in the resilient network
The resilient network is all about keeping things moving and connecting as many places as possible, during times of extreme weather.
The two main criteria we use to select roads for the network are:
- access to key services is protected at the following locations: hospitals, railway stations, waste sites, schools and colleges, our depots and crematoriums
- economic activity is protected by connecting main towns to other main towns, using principal roads or the trunk road network, prioritising access to town centres in the main towns and access to main business parks
How do we ensure the network remains relevant?
The roads within the network are reviewed after any relevant event, or every two years if no events occur. We adopted the our resilient network on 5 December 2017, following a public consultation.
In 2020, we worked with the Bedfordshire Local Resilience Forum to review the network.
We fully considered the existing road network and noted there have been no changes to the priority salting network (find out more about where we grit roads). This means that no changes are required to the resilient network published in 2017.
However, we anticipate that changes to the resilient network will be required over the next two years, to include changes to the road network and the way in which our roads are used. So, at the next review in 2022, we'll run a full public consultation (as in 2017) to allow all people to provide feedback on any proposed changes to the resilient network.
Is the resilient network related to winter maintenance?
Yes. The resilient network is a part of the winter maintenance network. However, the winter network is more extensive than the resilient networks, as it aims to prevent the formation of ice on main roads, high risk roads and all distributor roads.
What other benefits are there to having this network?
Central government helps us to pay for the upkeep on our roads, through the Department for Transport's incentive fund.
To be able to bid for and secure funding, we need to ensure our resilient network is reviewed every 2 years and undergoes a formal process for approval by senior decision-makers.
Having the network indicates that we are classed as a top-level highway authority.