Proposals announced by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling reflect on the delays caused to motorists by utility companies carrying out roadwork’s to reduce by almost half under new proposals.
The proposals would allow local authorities to charge utility companies by the hour to carry out work on selected routes which is intended to encourage companies carrying out works to avoid busy roads and peak times, plus incentivising them to join together when they do need to carry out work on well-known congested routes to reduce congestion and be more efficient.
There are over 2.5 million roadwork’s carried out each and every year on roads across the UK, costing the economy around £4 billion, which is made up from people not being able to get to work on time, delayed deliveries etc. resulting in higher costs for businesses. The proposals outlined today could reduce journey times to commuters but only if efficiently thought-out by the utility companies in question, if all goes to plan then journey times could improve for drivers at the same time as delivering a boost to the economy.
Firms could avoid the charges by carrying out works during evenings and weekends or coordinating their plans. In London, utility companies have worked together more than 600 times since the trials began, up from just 100 beforehand.
Successful trials in London and Kent have seen severe congestion caused by utility works reduce by more than half.
The schemes also act as an incentive for companies to avoid congested routes and peak times where possible.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:
“Delays caused by roadwork’s can be the bane of drivers’ lives – especially when they take place at rush hour on busy routes.”
“These proposals would give councils greater powers to ensure utility companies avoid carrying out works at the busiest times and on the most popular routes. This would not only improve journeys and cut congestion but also save businesses from the increased costs they incur as a result of traffic on our roads.”
The Department for Transport are consulting on a series of options to minimise the disruption of works for road users and businesses, and to make schemes more efficient for utility companies carrying out necessary works.
Currently, most local authorities use permit schemes to monitor roadwork’s, but lane rental would give them additional powers to manage works on the busiest roads at the busiest times.
Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport for Transport for London, said:
“We’re delighted about these plans to extend the lane rental scheme nationally. It has been a resounding success in the capital, with the amount of severe disruption caused by badly-managed or poorly-timed roadwork’s more than halved. This has helped improve journey times for bus passengers, drivers and cyclists, while also helping to tackle emissions.”