Frequently Asked Questions

For Resurfacing FAQs click here


For all other FAQs please click on the questions to view the answers

What is the Highways PFI Project?

In April 2013, Island Roads - working in partnership with the Isle of Wight Council - took responsibility for managing, upgrading and maintaining the Island’s highways network. This is a comprehensive programme of work to improve roads, pavements and cycleways as well as replacing street lighting and undertaking street cleansing and winter gritting. Island Roads is also responsible for improving and maintaining bridges, drainage and street furniture (litter bins, signage etc), CCTV and car parks, as well as the ongoing highways maintenance for 25 years.

What are we doing to repair potholes across the Island?

We have extra resources out across the Island repairing potholes and defects. To find out more about this work and our longer term plans for improving the roads, click here. (County Press feature article 2013).

Why are we spending all this money during a recession?

The Isle of Wight Council was fortunate enough to be awarded a grant of £487m over a 25 year period. This grant does not have to be repaid and is a once in a life time opportunity to bring the Island’s highways to a good standard. The investment on Island roads will undoubtedly help local employment and improve the economy of the Island. The ability to invest for the long term means that our highway maintenance will move away from the traditional year on year “patch and mend” approach towards longer term reconstruction that will have longer durability. This approach ultimately saves money, prevents disruption to traffic and provides a better service to the general public.

What has been happening since April 2013?

Since April 2013 we’ve undertaken a range of activities including:

◾Full structural surveys and inspections of the condition of the highways network to determine the programme of work needed.

◾A schedule of routine maintenance work, including treating defects (such as pot holes), kerbing, verge and grass cutting, street cleansing and gully-cleansing.

◾Major maintenance and patching repair of our roads to ensure sections will last until the improvement works take place. Roads will go from the worst in the country to the best.

◾The conversion of some existing street lighting and installation of new LED energy efficient lighting, where required. LED is more reliable and can be more remotely controlled. It also helps to minimise light pollution and improves visibility for pedestrians and road users.

◾Drainage works to improve areas prone to flooding (18 major schemes and 122 minor schemes will be undertaken in the first seven years).

◾Continued assessment of the major geotechnical schemes such as Duver Road, Blackgang and the Military Road.

◾The recruitment of four apprentices and four graduates to further our commitment to developing the skills of Island young people.

◾We have been travelling the Island, in each of the six districts, with our mobile visitor centre talking to residents, schools and businesses to help explain the work underway and planned for the future.

What will the surfacing programme mean to you?

As the programme rolls out and in the longer term, residents and visitors will begin to experience significantly improved roads, pavements and cycle ways, making journeys easier, safer and more comfortable.

The Island has previously enjoyed a relatively low volume of roadworks and delays, when compared to other mainland areas. There is however no doubt that to achieve the required improvements to Island roads, there will inevitably be disruption because of the scope and scale of work involved. We have worked hard to programme the work sensibly, taking into account the technical requirements that make some roads a priority, overriding factors such as major events, utility works and available diversion routes and other critical considerations.

We will also be working hard to minimise the inconvenience for residents by providing information on works programmes so that you can help plan your journey around the Island.

In surveys undertaken by the Council, residents consistently ranked road improvement as their number one priority, so please do bear with us during this time but let us know if there are things we can do to improve our service.

What next?

On 3 September 2013, a major resurfacing programme started across the Island. This will see much of the Island’s network of roads and pavements brought up to the required condition over a seven year period. Where possible, we programme our work to start after the main tourist period to minimise the impact. We have also looked to do work on busier roads overnight to ease the disruption to residents and visitors alike. 

When is my road going to be improved?

The project covers over 800km of roads and 700km of footways. In addition, around 12,000 lighting units need to be replaced. These works will be delivered over a seven year period, known as the Core Investment Period, although there will also be a more limited programme of improvements over the remaining period of the contract. The programme will address, where possible, the most needed works first. We will liaise with key stakeholders, such as town and parish councils, utility companies and bus companies, to try and minimise disruption. If you visit the front page of our website and use our 'Postcode Look Up' you will be able to see when works will be carried out in your area.

What is an LED light and what difference will it make to my road?

LED stands for Light Emitting Diodes. This is a modern lighting technology that uses a large number of tiny but highly energy-efficient light-emitting units (diodes) that are grouped together to provide a light source. Technology in lighting is moving at an extremely fast pace and the integration of LED lamps into street lighting is one example. LED lamps are more reliable and energy-efficient than conventional street lighting light sources. They are more cost effective, longer-lasting and will provide a clearer light than current light sources. Based on our use of LED lighting elsewhere around the UK, we predict a 35% saving in energy consumption within the first five years. This approach is supported by the use of a Central Management System which will help us to control lighting levels across the Island and increase efficiency.

How do we decide which road/pavement is treated and when?

A programme of work has been created following detailed inspections and mechanical scanning of the roads to get a full analysis of the condition – not just the visual appearance of any defects e.g. potholes and rutting on the roads but, more importantly, a deep scan which helps to tell us about the underlying stability and condition of the road beneath the surface. This has created a sequencing of works and determined the type of treatment required for different sections of road and pavements to bring the network up to the required standards at an equal pace across the Island.

Not all sections of a road will require the same treatment (there are in fact some 160 different types of treatment) and in some cases existing sections of roads may be of a suitable condition to not warrant immediate treatment. In the short term this may potentially lead to some differences in the appearance in a road but over time this will become less apparent. On our website you can find out about these planned works in your local area by using a postcode look-up facility which links to maps of the programmed activity. We also write to residents in an area before work starts and put out information signs with specific dates and times of works being undertaken. Any road closures are also advertised in the County Press and current works by street are listed on our website and provided to the local media.

The works programme is subject to adverse weather conditions which may result in changes to the timescales of work but we will ensure that residents are made aware of any such changes.

Will all of our roads be replaced with new ones?

The Island’s roads, footways, cycleways and street lights were in a very poor condition. As a consequence, there will be significant upgrading to bring them to acceptable standards. Some roads and footways were upgraded by the Council before the start of our contract and hence they will not need upgrading during the Core Investment Period (2013-2020). The entire network will be maintained to ensure the streets are clean, grass in the verges is cut, street lighting is maintained and roads remain safe during the winter. You can find out details of our programme of works during the Core Investment Period on the front page of our website via our Postcode Look Up Feature. 

Will private roads be included in the PFI?

The Isle of Wight Council, as the Highway Authority, is responsible for the safe operation and maintenance of the publicly maintained, adopted highway network which includes roads, footpaths, cycle tracks and all associated assets. Under the Highways PFI, a £487 million Government grant from the Department for Transport will be used to bring the Island’s adopted highways network to a modern standard. Private roads do not form part of the publicly maintained, adopted highway network. If residents living in a private road would like Island Roads to carry out resurfacing works in these roads, quotes can be provided for this work. 

What is a District?

The Isle of Wight Council has divided the Island into six main districts for the purposes of delivering highway services under this contract. We will be improving the highways, footways, bridges and lighting in all six districts to ensure they are all brought up to modern standards at the same time. Therefore, no one part of the Island will have preference over another and all areas will be treated equally.

District 1 - Cowes
District 2 - Newport
District 3 - Ryde
District 4 - Sandown & Shanklin
District 5 - Ventnor
District 6 - Yarmouth

District Stewards manage works in each of these areas and establish a close working relationship within local communities.

How many new jobs have been created?

Island Roads’ focus is to provide a local highway service using local people. We have already created a wide range of employment opportunities on the Island. We have an Island based workforce of around 170 staff to work through the Core Investment Period. This has also been supplemented by specialist roles across a range of fields, including:

    •    Quantity Surveyors
    •    Bridge and Structural Engineers
    •    Highways Design and Maintenance Engineers
    •    Clerk of Works
    •    Site Managers
    •    Geotechnical Engineers
    •    Administration (Accountants, Planners)
    •    Electrical Engineers
    •    Environmental Specialists and Landscape Architects
    •    Tradesman – Bricklayers, Tarmac Layers, Carpenters

Some of these roles have been filled by council employees transferring across to Island Roads by TUPE transfer.

Will this work cause a lot of disruption?

The work that we plan to deliver on the Island during the Core Investment Period is quite extensive. These works would normally have been done over a five year period but the Isle of Wight Council took a decision to extend this over seven years to ensure the disruption to the highway network is minimised. We have developed a plan that will deliver the upgrade with as little disruption as possible but, given the scale of the improvements needed and the current condition of the highway, there will be some disruption. We are continuously working on the programme to minimise this and ensure that any work is well coordinated with other companies, such as the utility companies.

The Isle of Wight Council has specified that we should undertake the majority of works outside of the peak summer season and public holidays and maximise any road closures or works outside peak times wherever possible. We are very conscious of the importance of the tourist trade to local businesses and will work with local people and traders to ensure that we minimise the impact of works.

How will you manage road closures?

We have a programme of improvement works that covers the first seven years of the contract and we are continuing to refine this through discussions with the Isle of Wight Council, the utility companies, emergency services, other transport providers such as the ferry and bus companies and the town and parish councils. Once we have an agreed programme, we will communicate this to local residents and road users well in advance of planned closures either via our website, text updates or letters to those properties affected. The contract stipulates where, when and how we can close a road to the public and we will work hard to minimise road closures.

Will works be carried out during the day or night?

We plan to carry out work on the busiest roads during the night or in off-peak hours as this will be less disruptive to traffic and to those travelling to work. Work in residential areas will be carried out during the day to avoid disturbance at night. There will be some weekend working on roads that cannot be upgraded during weekdays. Some major schemes such as the geotechnical schemes listed below will take longer to implement and will therefore have slightly longer term traffic management.

Are there going to be opportunities for local suppliers?

Island Roads is already working with a number of Isle of Wight businesses to deliver the highway service. For more details on working with us, or to register your interest in working with us, you can email

Will there be any road widening?

We will be enhancing and improving the existing road surface to provide very high ride quality. Where verges are overgrown, we will clear these to ensure that the full width of the carriageway is available for use by the public. Sometimes, overgrown vegetation is on private land, and we will work closely with local landowners to ensure that all hedges and verges are maintained to the same standards. There will be no physical widening of roads under this project but the Isle of Wight Council may choose to bring in one-off schemes to widen roads or build new schemes. These will remain outside the PFI project in the first instance.

Will you be improving things for pedestrians and cyclists as well?

The Island is blessed with many cycle and walking networks. Most of these will continue to be maintained by the Council. We will be responsible for the maintenance of 756 kms of footways and 29 kms of cycleways. We will work with cycling forums and pedestrian groups to improve these vital networks.

When Island Roads makes any improvements in an area, we will review other highway assets at the same time to ensure that cycling, safe routes to schools and access to public transport are all considered as well.

How do I get in touch with Island Roads?

Our service is very much customer focused and there are lots of ways to keep in touch with us. We have a dedicated telephone number to report any highway related faults or incidents - 01983 822440. Alternatively, you can complete an electronic form on our website.  

Where can I find out information about the programme of works and improvements?

We publish our programme of works online and you will be able to see when and where road closures are planned. You can also leave feedback, ask for advice or look up when work will be carried out. We will keep you up to date with information about how we are doing via the local media and our Twitter account @islandroads.

Will the Military Road be saved?

This project includes proposals to keep open the highways at some of the Island’s most unstable stretches. Similar work to address geotechnical problems or ground movements affecting roads will also be undertaken at around a dozen other locations in the first seven years and includes:

    •    Undercliff Drive (in four locations), Ventnor to St Lawrence
    •    Brook Chine, Brook
    •    Bouldnor Road, Yarmouth
    •    Duver Road, St Helens
    •    The Terrace, Chale
    •    Newport Road, Ventnor
    •    Whitwell Road, Ventnor
    •    Westhill Lane, Yarmouth
    •    Gills Cliff Road, Ventnor
    •    Castle Court, Ventnor
    •    Lower Road, Adgestone
    •    La Falaise
    •    Winter Gardens, Ventnor
    •    Old Access Road, Blackgang
    •    Shippards Chine

Will we see a change to the Council?

The work on the ground is now carried out by Island Roads. Many of the staff who were employed by the Isle of Wight Council have moved over to Island Roads. So, whilst you will see some familiar faces, given the significant increase in the workload, there will be some new faces too. You will also see our new vehicles, plant, equipment and uniforms. The good news is that over all, there will be more people out and about making improvements across the Island.

How do I report an abandoned vehicle?

You can report an abandoned vehicle via our online reporting form.

How do I request new double yellow lines?

For more information on requesting double yellow lines, click here. 

How do I apply for an access protection bar?

To find out more about applying for an access protection bar, click here. 

How can I apply for a road closure?

For more information about applying for a road closure, click here

How do I address a new build property or change the name of an existing property?

For more information on street naming and numbering, click here. 

How can I apply for a skip or building works licence?

For more information about these licences, click here. 

Who do I contact if I would like a new asset on the highway?

If would like to request a new highway asset, e.g a new pavement, Zebra crossing, roundabout or bus shelter, you need to make this request to the Isle of Wight Council's Contract Management Team:

St. Christopher House
42 Daish Way, 
Isle of Wight
PO30 5XJ

Telephone: 01983 821000 


How do I report a highway defect?

To report a highway defect, click here. 

How do I obtain highway advice prior to submitting a planning application?

Development Control hold a pre-planning advice surgery on Friday mornings between 9am -12 noon by appointment only. Alternatively you can email your proposals to for comment.

How do I obtain a highway search?

If you require a verbal response please telephone (01983) 828500.  If you have multiple search enquiries we advise you to email your request along with a detailed plan of the property to

If you require a written response please note that a fee of £17.90 is applicable per property and the payment is required in advance.  You may forward your request along with a cheque made payable to Island Roads Ltd to

Ringway Island Roads Ltd, St Christopher House, 42 Daish Way, NEWPORT, PO30 5XJ. 

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