Key workers brought in to repair a clifftop road were pestered by members of the public about coronavirus restrictions.
The crews faced numerous questions about social distancing, whether the work was essential and whether it could be delayed.
They also came up with a “greener” solution to mending the potholes in The Promenade, Peacehaven, for the same cost.
The contractor Hailsham Roadways said: “Lockdown presented extra emotional and physical challenges.
“The team had to socially distance from each other and from members of the public.
“Keeping two metres apart in the construction industry is not always possible. This caused reputational, health and safety and mental pressures.
“Everyone was very tense. Every working person was scrutinised by the public.
“The team had several queries from local communities asking if works were truly essential and could be done after lockdown.”
Extra measures to tackle the threat of covid-19 were put in place including only worker per vehicle and extra hand sanitisers on site.
Hailsham Roadways’ chief executive James Bailey said: “Highways companies have to continue to operate through lockdowns to ensure roads and footpaths are kept safe.
“Managing communication now with residents and road users is extremely important for the Roadways team.
“The company is doing it successfully by having extra covid-19-related road signs and information boards on sites, special windscreen key workers’ permits and additional communication with the public affected by the road repair projects.
“We have had some excellent feedback from residents who appreciate our operatives’ empathy, courtesy and work ethic.
“We’re busier than ever and we’ll carry on working effectively through this phase of covid-related lockdown challenges as we edge into winter.”
The potholes in the cliffside road in Peacehaven were filled with a durable mix of recycled filler in the hope of preventing the surface from breaking up too soon.
The £110,000 repair job was initially limited to patching up the potholes with crushed stone, according to Hailsham Roadways.
But Roadways said: “The road is on the side of a cliff so crushed and compacted stone would wash away in no time.”
The company said that it could even have been no more than two rainstorms before the potholes started to appear again.
Instead, Roadways suggested “a long-lasting solution and better value for money” using an alternative recycled product for the same price.
Lewes District Council agreed to the use of the material – hydraulically bound mixture (HBM) – and weeks later the work was complete.
Roadways said: “They decided to invest in fixing underlying problems, such as those found in road foundations, meaning there will not need to be so many roadworks in the future.
“This road will last for 10 years now, instead of only a few rainstorms.
“In this case, and in line with Hailsham Roadways’ ethical approach, the road’s problems were resolved in a more environmentally friendly way too.
“Carbon savings of over 40 per cent were made by recycling materials dug from the existing broken road, not using aggregates from the sea or quarries or using hot asphalt unnecessarily.
“This follows ‘circular economy’ principles of designing waste out of the environment, keeping materials in use and regenerating natural systems.”
Roadways said that the job involved more than 20 highly skilled workers, supervisors and engineers – and that the road shouldn’t need to be resurfaced now until the natural life cycle of the surface dressing came to an end.
The company said that it had also used excavated materials from the job to form bunds – or embankments – to stop parking and deter people from driving off the cliffs.
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