THE county’s highways workers have been praised for helping other key workers, including those in the NHS and social care, to get about their essential work during the coronavirus.

North Yorkshire County Council and its highways contractors, including main contractor Ringway, are continuing to deliver roads maintenance during the crisis to ensure that others who need to travel to provide crucial services or deliver vital food and other supplies can do so with confidence.

The council also plans to go ahead with its annual surface dressing of some roads in its network as usual, and will start as soon as possible after Easter.

Workers are observing strict Government guidelines on distancing - including the use of ‘kerb-lifters’ which allows one person to do a job normally undertaken by two.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive member for access, said: “There is no question that by keeping the county’s roads in good repair our highways workers are providing an essential service and they should be proud of their contribution.

“It is vital that the network remains safe. While, quite rightly, far fewer of us are travelling, it is important that the standard of our roads is maintained.

“NHS staff, social care workers, teachers, delivery drivers and others providing essential services at this very difficult time do not need the extra burden of worrying about the condition of the roads or foot ways they need to travel. The fact that traffic levels on our roads are reduced to a minimum means that our repair work can be carried out quickly, efficiently and with little or no disruption.”

Government guidance following the announcement of further social distancing restrictions last month is that construction, including street and road works, should continue where it can be undertaken in accordance with Public Health England and industry guidance. Travel permitted for work includes construction workers operating on site.

Cllr Mackenzie added: “We take the safety of our employees and contractors very seriously and are observing the guidance on social distancing.”

“Since the current Government restrictions were introduced on March 23, our highways service has received more than 500 service requests from customers and highways officers and contractors have repaired almost 800 defects on the county’s highways network.”

This year’s surface dressing schedule is being reviewed to focus initially on rural roads where the locations facilitate social distancing more easily.