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Guidance Bulletin 32

Road Block! The use of Temporary Obstruction Site?

Temporary obstruction sign

Grab and other HGVs are large intimidating vehicles which can cause traffic chaos and a danger to road users if they are not managed effectively when they arrive on a site to conduct their activity. We use these vehicles for a variety of tasks ranging from the collection of spoil to the delivery of materials and plant all of which should be done with the minimum disruption to the road user and the maximum amount of safety for everyone. In order to provide information to road users if a vehicle has to temporarily block a road to undertake a short duration task the “TEMPORARY OBSTRUCTION 15 MINUTES DELAY” sign was added to the Safety at Street Works and Road Works Code of Practice in October 2013.

Traffic control by ‘Temporary obstruction’ sign

This sign may be placed in advance of the works if all the following apply: :

  • no alternative method of operation is practicable.
  • other forms of temporary traffic management are not practicable.
  • the highway authority is notified in advance and agrees to the expected use of this measure.
  • traffic is delayed for no more than 15 minutes at any one time, and there is at least one hour between such delays.
  • the ‘Temporary obstruction’ sign is placed within sight of the obstruction; and
  • operatives can reopen the road immediately for emergency access or on request from an appropriate authority.

Warning: this measure should only be used after consultation with your supervisor, manager or other competent person and an on-site risk assessment has been undertaken. It is an offence under section 137 Highways Act 1980 to obstruct the highway without lawful excuse.

When arriving on site any driver must report to the site manager / lead operative and be briefed on the Plant and Vehicle Movement Plan (PVMP) . The vehicle should either be fully incorporated into the site including any Temporary Traffic Management (TTM) or parked away from the works until the safe movement and position of the vehicle to carry out its task can be established. The task specific Risk assessment AND the Street Works Site Specific Risk Assessment should be completed or amended as appropriate BEFORE the task commences.


  • DO update your permit (as may be required) if this is a change to your original TM method.
  • DO check that we have either specific or blanket consent to use the Temporary Obstruction Sign.
  • DO obey any directions given by the lead operative / Site Manager in respect to manoeuvring or parking the vehicle.
  • DO think about the impact of your vehicle on other road users and avoid arriving on site a peak traffic times such as school pick or rush hour.
  • DO arrange for surplus to be stored in accessible areas away from pinch points etc.
  • DON’T block footways or cycleways.
  • DON’T block roads unless you have a banksman and the sign available on site or on the vehicle.

HAUC(UK) thanks Morrison Water Services in their help in the creation of this guidance.

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