Highway Engineering

Highway Engineering


Highways are major investments and key assets for the economic growth and movements of people, goods and services.  Thriving communities depend on well planned, designed, maintained and operated highway infrastructures.


SANDS Approach to Highway Engineering Consultancy:


Highway design is the base of all our civil engineering services, we design and deliver complex highway schemes using cost effective and sustainable solutions from concept design to detailed design. Our work includes geometric design, pavement design, drainage and other associated elements of highways infrastructure.

Our Highway Engineering design schemes takes the form of the following:

  • New access roads and drainage for new developments and highway adoption (Section 278 & Section 38)
  • Improvements for road safety
  • Highway capacity improvements
  • Parking strategies & traffic calming schemes
  • Design of vehicle crossovers (Section 184), car parks and commercial loading areas
  • Inspection of existing concrete or asphalt surfaces and advice on repair
  • Independent review of highway issues and reporting on problems and mitigating proposals.


The SANDS approach to highway project delivery is fast, smart and provides better value by incorporating best practice in collaborative working from project development phase to construction. Our team of designers have vast experience in developing schemes across the full breadth of highway engineering working in tandem with the client, our transport planning team and other specialists to provide a seamless transition from planning through design to implementation on-site.

Our traffic engineering team uses engineering techniques in the safe and efficient movement of people and goods on the roadways. Traffic calming, congestion reduction, accident reduction, capacity improvements are design activities undertaken by our team on public infrastructure.  Several of our projects in this sector include safe routes to school schemes, junction capacity improvements, 20mph schemes and accident prevention schemes.

Section 278 / Section 38 Agreement works


A Section Agreement, as a legally binding document between the Local Highway Authority and the developer, guarantees that the work to be done on the highway is performed to the Highway Authority’s standards and satisfaction.  At Sands, we are specialists in the design delivery for Section 278 & Section 38 agreements.


What is the Section 278 Agreement?


Section 278 Agreement allows the developers to be in a legal agreement. This agreement with the local authority allows alterations or improvements to a public highway. It is a section of the Highway act 1980.

When planning approval is given for a development that necessitates renovations or adjustments to the existing roads and pavements that are part of the publicly maintained highway, a S278 is normally required. The agreement specifies the obligations of both the Local Highway Authority and the developer in order to guarantee that the proposed works are completed according to the authorized plans. It also specifies what action the Local Highway Authority will take if the developer fails to complete the project.

The following are some of the key aspects that are likely to be included in a typical Section 278 Agreement:

  • Details about the applicable planning approval
  • the agreed design
  • Details of a bond or surety
  • Details of who will design and manage the works
  • Provision for inspection and certification of the works costs
  • Details on the committed payments for future improvement work upkeep


What is the Section 38 Agreement?


Section 38 is the legal mechanism whereby the local authorities adopt new roads and associated infrastructure.

When a new estate road is planned as part of a development for residential, industrial, or other uses, the conventional legal procedure of converting the road to a public highway is to enter into an agreement under Section 38 of the Highways Act 1980.

Section 38 agreements are negotiated between the engineer of the Local Highway Authority and our engineering team, and designs detailing all aspects of construction and requirements are submitted. These plans and specifications will be similar to those necessary for highway improvement projects under a Section 278 Agreement.


Technical Approval for Section 278/ Section 38 works


We are specialists in the design delivery for Section 278 & S38 agreements, our work is tailored to match up the Developer & Council’s requirements to ensure an efficient and valued design process. These agreements provide financial and insurance mechanisms for ensuring the delivery of mitigation works identified as necessary for planning permission to be granted for a private development. 

Our design team can progress your project from planning permission, through detailed design, to technical approval by the Highway Authority. We can provide construction stage services to ensure that the project is constructed and adopted by the Highway Authority.

For highway authorities we deliver maintenance and carriageway improvement design. For Developers we provide access design including construction details for landscaping areas in support of planning application requirements and discharging of conditions.  


Drainage Design

Drainage design and flood risk assessment are integral to successful planning applications with great emphasis on Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) for stormwater management.  At SANDS our Engineers are highly experienced in developing well balanced drainage strategies and designs towards providing cost effective solutions to discharge planning conditions and project requirements.

Flood Risk Assessment


Flood risk assessments are used to identify and assess risks of all forms of flooding to a development and our drainage designs demonstrate how these flood risks are to be managed as part of the development while taking climate change into consideration.

Road Safety Audit

Road Safety Audit is often required by highway and planning authorities when changes are proposed to an existing highway or in the creation of a new one. The objective of Road Safety Audits (RSA) is to identify aspects of engineering interventions that could give rise to road safety problems and to suggest modifications that could improve road safety. It is a process that is undertaken by Road Safety Auditors independent of the design team.

Traffic Management Plans

Traffic Management Plans during construction are one of the most significant elements to consider. We produce Chapter 8 traffic management plans for construction activities involving the highway network and construction site movements.  We work in conjunction with the local approving authority for TMAN approvals with designs aimed at minimising the impact on the network, road users, residential and business premises in proximity of the proposed works.