Managing highway infrastructure

Kent County Council manages its highway infrastructure by effective highways asset management and compliance with the principles of the Well-managed Highway Infrastructure Code of Practice.

Highways asset management

In recent years, we have significantly developed and improved our approach to highways asset management and also introduced various measures to implement the Well-managed Highway Infrastructure (WMHI) code of practice.

As a result we have been able to demonstrate consistently that we are a competent highway authority, make the case for additional funding, and optimise our ability to defend claims.

Despite making significant progress, we, like other highways authorities, are in an increasingly challenging environment, with deteriorating assets, increasing traffic volumes, uncertainty around future funding and, more recently, facing the impacts of the global pandemic. We have therefore developed a new Highways Asset Management Plan (HAMP) to identify a clear investment strategy and associated action plan for the future that is fit for purpose and recognises the challenges and opportunities ahead.

The new plan is a forward-looking document covering the next 5 years which:

  • includes a vision statement (Part 6)
  • sets out how highways asset management, as a key enabling service, contributes to achieving strategic outcomes and delivering Kent’s interim strategic plan (Part 1)
  • describes how we go about asset management and risk-based decision-making (Part 3)
  • explains what we know about the condition of our assets both now and going forward based on various investment levels (Part 4 and Appendix A)
  • sets out our service levels in terms of what we do and what we do not, alongside an assessment of associated risks (Appendix B)
  • outlines our asset management and WMHI improvements and achievements in recent years (Part 5)
  • includes a 5 year forward works programme for specific asset groups (Appendix C), and
  • lists the future actions we will implement to further improve our approach to asset management, maximise asset lifespans, reduce lifecycle cost and improve future maintainability, in order to deliver on our vision and strategic outcomes (Part 6).

In addition to being an asset management plan for highways, the document is an Investment Strategy and Action Plan for the next 5 years. Crucially, it seeks to move towards treating the management and maintenance of our highway assets as a multi-year endeavour, rather than an annual one. In that respect, the document highlights the importance of consistency of (broad levels of) funding and approach over that longer period, to enable us to deliver a more efficient service with better condition outcomes.

Our highways asset management plan is outlined in the following strategy documents: