The UK government has announced a crackdown on disruptive roadworks that could reduce congestion for millions of drivers and generate up to £100m in additional funds to resurface roads.
The initiative is among the first of several key measures to be announced from the government’s 30-point Plan for Drivers.
The announcement was made as UK roads minister Guy Opperman launched a street works consultation on a series of measures to prevent utility companies from letting roadworks overrun and clogging up traffic as a result.
The consultation seeks to extend the current £10,000 per day fine for overrunning street works into weekends and bank holidays as a deterrent for working on the busiest days for road travel.
Currently, utility companies are only fined for disruption on working days. However, the measures could double fines from £500 up to a maximum of £1,000 for companies that breach conditions of the job, such as working without a permit.
The plans would also direct at least 50% of money from lane rental schemes to be used to improve roads and repair potholes.
Lane rental schemes allow local highway authorities to charge companies for the time that street and road works occupy the road.
As a result, the measures could, claimed the government, generate up to £100m extra over 10 years to resurface roads while helping tackle congestion and reducing journey times.
According to the government, two million street works were carried out in England in 2022 to 2023 and cost the economy around £4bn by causing severe road congestion and disrupting journeys.
Opperman said: “Being stuck in traffic is infuriating for drivers. Too often traffic jams are caused by overrunning street works.
“This government is backing drivers, with a robust approach to utility companies and others, who dig up our streets.
“We will seek to massively increase fines for companies that breach conditions and fine works that overrun into weekends and bank holidays while making the rental for such works help generate up to an extra £100m to improve local roads.”
It’s believed the measures could also help boost active travel by preventing street works from disrupting walking, wheeling and cycling while also providing opportunities to improve pavements and pedestrian crossings and make repairs to pavements and cycle lanes.
In addition, the government has announced plans to make all temporary, experimental or permanent restrictions on traffic digital.
So-called traffic regulation orders (TROs) include the location of parking spaces, road closures and speed limits.
Making TROs digital means they must now be added to satnav systems, ensuring drivers have the most up-to-date information.
The announcements follow what’s said to be the biggest ever funding uplift for local road improvements, with £8.3bn of redirected HS2 funding to improve local journeys across the North of England and the rest of the UK.
Achievements and innovations in road safety will be celebrated at the third annual CiTTi Awards, which will be held on 26 November 2024 at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in London. Nominations officially open in March 2024. Please visit www.cittiawards.co.uk to learn more about this unmissable event for the UK’s transportation sector.