Roadworks (called road work or road construction in the United States) occur when part of the road, or in rare cases, the entire road, has to be occupied for work relating to the road, most often in the case of road surface repairs. In the United States road work could also mean any work conducted in close proximity of travel way (thoroughfare) such as utility work or work on power lines (i.e. telephone poles). The general term of road work is known as work zone.
Roadworks can, however, also happen when a major accident occurs and road debris from the crash needs to be cleared.
Roadworks are often signposted, although it is possible that the signage comes too late or too sudden or is missing. Typical road work traffic controls are temporary signs, traffic cones, barrier boards and t-top bollards as well as other forms of warning devices. There are standards of temporary traffic control (maintenance of traffic) established in each country for various type of road work.
In some countries, where lanes must be altered so as to accommodate roadworks, the new lanes (or interim lanes) are marked with a different colour and take precedence over the previous lanes. In Germany, Poland and many other European countries, it is yellow; in Switzerland and in Ireland, it is orange.
Roadworks are frequently carried out throughout the night so as to minimize traffic disruption.
Currently there are very few sources of accurate roadworks information sites available that report on the status of current works and future works.