Road works and the travel disruption that follows on from them have become a bane of drivers’ lives however a proposal to launch a major crackdown on travel disruption caused by roadworks on local roads and the start of 7-day working are being considered by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.
In a move that may come as a small victory for motorists against the ever growing network of road repairs and travel disruption, work will have to be carried out over the weekends and weekdays so projects are completed sooner, or road closures be removed until work in resumed.
Councils and utility companies would also severe fines of up to £5,000 a day if road works unnecessarily inconvenience road users by being left in place when no one is actually working.
Daily fines of £5,000 already exist for road works that overrun their completion date, but under the new proposal, those who leave temporary traffic lights in place after the work has been finished will also face consequences, the Department for Transport said.
The proposals are intended to decrease congestion on A-roads, which are managed by local establishments, and help reduce the millions of hours drivers lose every year stuck in traffic.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “I want to deliver better journeys for drivers. Road works can be essential but that doesn’t mean they should be in place any longer than is absolutely necessary.
“That is why I am looking at proposals to reduce queues and make drivers’ lives easier. These common sense measures will be a welcome relief to those trying to get from A to B on our local roads.
“Over Christmas we were able to lift a massive number of roadworks on trunk roads, but this package of measures will benefit drivers all the year round.”
The new proposals were welcomed by motoring organisations.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Road users see red when they come across sets of temporary traffic lights that are stopping traffic but there are no workmen in sight or the work has actually finished.
“Ministers can’t stop utility companies digging up the roads but they can make firms pay the price if the work is not done swiftly and they do not tidy up after themselves.
“The road network is used relentlessly 24/7 and every one of the two million sets of road works carried out annually to repair pipes and lay cables causes disruption. Anything that can be done to keep the tailbacks to a minimum will be welcomed by Britain’s 37 million motorists.”
This initiative will sit alongside the government’s £15 billion Road investment strategy which is transforming England’s road network, helping create jobs, boost economic growth, and fixing the longstanding problems that inconvenience drivers.