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Hertfordshire County Council

A day in the life of Lead Assistant Highway Manager, David Swan

"The job has so much variety - no two days are ever the same".

"On a day to day basis I assist council members on which schemes to prioritise when spending the annual £90k Highway Locality Budget. Around two thirds of the budget is spent on larger works such as road and footway resurfacing. The rest is split between routine maintenance, such as cutting back hedges or bushes or refreshing road markings, and small traffic and parking management schemes.

Popular schemes with the Watford Members this year are 20mph Zones, Speed Indication Devices, and shopping parade enhancements. Some of the lower cost schemes, or Tiny Noticeable Things, as I like to call them, are adjusting pedestrian guardrails, making them suitable for mobility scooters, or 'NO PARKING' road markings to keep residential gateways clear of on-street parking, or creating runoff areas to reduce surface water flooding on residential driveways.

If a scheme is unaffordable, it is my job to bid for countywide strategy funds, or seek other funding opportunities. If no budget is available, I'll ask customers to consider funding, or part-funding through public subscriptions.

I also work closely with the Customer Service Centre; complaints we receive are a deciding factor in how we prioritse road schemes, alongside visual inspections and what is affordable.

"One of the things I enjoy most about my work is interacting with the public. I act as a gateway into the highway service for more complex issues or questions which the Customer Service Centre do not have the experience to answer. If a member of the public raises a complex request, I will investigate the issue raised, taking photos and measurements, talking to the public and knocking on doors as necessary to arrive with the best solution. I’ll then discuss with members if the solution is relevant and affordable to their Locality Budgets.  

Some of the more complex issues I’m dealing with at present are liaising with Watford’s Tree Officer on how to deal with trees causing obstruction to highway users, and liaising with Network Rail and London Midland to find a solution to make pedestrians safer at a level crossing."

- David Swan, Lead Assistant Highway Manager for Watford.