Workloads are falling in the roads sector and the number of projects in progress still does not reflect the Government’s major investment plans, according to civil engineers.
The Civil Engineering Contractors Association’s (CECA quarterly Workload Trends Report, shows that workloads fell by 29% on motorways and trunk roads and by 16% on local roads, compared with a year ago.
CECA said low activity in the sector is acting as a brake on growth in the wider economy.
Transport Network has previously reported on concerns in the strategic road network sector that contracts are not coming through quickly or steadily enough from Highways England.
This has left some firms concerned over the amount they invested to boost capacity ahead of the promised extra work, while others have warned of a potential logjam towards the end of the Road Investment Strategy period 1 - 2015 to 2020.
Highways England's £88.4m Port of Immingham improvement scheme
Its head of external affairs, Marie-Claude Hemming, said: ‘Today’s results show that although the infrastructure sector as a whole is performing well, nonetheless the roads sector is yet to reflect the Government’s planned programme of investment.
‘The roads network is integral to the UK’s economy. We must take steps to ensure investment in the sector is implemented in a timely and efficient manner, to prevent it acting as a hindrance to wider economic growth.
‘CECA calls on Government to take steps to ensure planned investment in the roads sector is unlocked, so that our members can deliver a roads network capable of sustaining projected levels of demand.’
Across infrastructure as a whole, workloads increased across Great Britain for an eleventh consecutive quarter in quarter 1. Five out of 10 sectors reported that workloads fell compared to a year earlier.
In addition to falls in the motorways/trunk roads and local roads sectors, workloads in the harbours and waterways and airports sectors fell compared to a year ago. The railways sector reported increasing workloads after three consecutive quarters of decline.
Overall, civil engineering firms across the country reported continued difficulties with the supply of suitable workers. The supply of skilled workers in particular was the largest concern for firms across Great Britain.