An adopted highway is a highway that was privately-owned road, but has becomes a public road, managed and maintained by the highway authority (typically the local authority). They can also be referred to as a 'maintained highway'.
Section 38 of the Highways Act 1980 provides that when planning consent has been granted for a new development, developers may ask the highway authority to ‘adopt’ new roads that have been constructed as part of the development, along with associated infrastructure such as drains, lighting and supporting structures.
The conditions of a highway being adopted include:
- There being a direct link with the existing public highway network.
- It being of sufficient use for the public (i.e. having a wider use than just access to residential or commercial properties)
- It being open to the public at all times, and so on.
- It being constructed to a suitable standard.
There will be a fee associated with adoption, covering the cost of; checking designs, preparing the agreement, inspecting the works, and ongoing maintenance of items not essential for highway purposes (commuted sums). There may also be a requirement for a bond from the developer to cover the highway authority against the possibility that the developer fails to properly complete the works, for example if they become insolvent.
For more information see: Section 38 agreement.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
High quality and high density homes - is it what we need or is it storing up trouble?
Government announces its intention to strengthen planning rules to protect music venues and neighbours.
National Audit Office reports that there is little evidence that PFI offers better value than other forms of contracting.
What is liquidation and how does it apply to contractors in the construction industry?
Scrutiny is placed on Carillion's controversial 2013 decision to extend subcontractor payment terms to 120 days.
RSHP unveil their involvement in a boundary crossing which will provide a new entry point into Hong Kong.
With PFI currently under the spotlight due to Carillion, this introductory article explains what they are.
Estimates suggest that up to 30,000 small firms could be at risk of non-payment as a result of Carillion's collapse.
Sir Oliver Letwin to lead an independent review into the delays in the delivery of housing.
As Carillion collapses, read our article explaining insolvency in the construction industry.
43,000 jobs at risk as Carillion declares insolvency.