Traffic Management for Construction Projects

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There’s quite a bit of fluff and nonsense around this subject. Partly because Safework decided not to provide clear guidance. Partly because the road owner is likely to have its own rules. And partly because the traffic management companies want your business and so they claim you need them involved with all traffic work.

The facts

You do not need a traffic management plan (TMP) or traffic guidance scheme (TGS) if you are not impacting the flow of traffic or pedestrians any more than any other road user does.

Temporary, minor disruption

If you are temporarily impacting road users in a small way (e.g. unloading) then qualified traffic controllers should be used to direct traffic. A generic or site-specific TGS can be useful for the traffic controllers to use in this situation.

Temporary disruption

If you are temporarily impacting road users (e.g. closing lanes) but only for a short while then a TGS may suffice, but this level of impact is likely to need a Road Occupancy License – seek guidance from the road owner (e.g. local Council, RMS).

Significant disruption

If your impact is more significant or disruptive for longer then you will need to seek a Road Occupancy License from the road owner (e.g. local Council, RMS) and as part of this, you are likely to need to submit a TMP.

For all traffic planning

For all situations, the risks should be assessed and controls established in consultation with workers and other stakeholders. Other stakeholders could include the customer, property owner(s), tenants, or other persons who would be impacted by the works.

As soon as you want to put a person in the roadway to direct the flow of traffic they must be a trained and licensed Traffic Controller.

Summary table

Disruption to road users / pedestriansExampleRisk AssessmentRoad Occupancy License Traffic ControlTGSTMP
No impact on the flow Required**
Short-term minor impact UnloadingRequiredRequiredUseful Option
Disruptive short term impactLane closure for a couple of hoursRequiredRequired Required*Required
Long term impactLane closure for daysRequiredRequiredRequired*Required
* May be varied by local ROL rules
** May be required to protect workers


In conclusion, you don’t need a traffic management plan or a traffic management company involved unless there is a significant disruption to the flow of traffic or pedestrians. However, since 2020 you are likely to need an RTO trained and qualified traffic controller for even minor disruptions involving directing traffic in the roadway.

Clear as mud? Give us a call and we can clarify the particular requirements for your situation. Alternatively use our free 1 hour consultation service.


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