Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has announced plans to charge utility companies by the hour for digging up roads and to give local authorities greater powers to coordinate roadworks.

RAC roads policy spokesman Nicholas Lyes said: “Drivers will welcome these novel proposals which aim to tackle one of the biggest bugbears on our roads and a significant cause of congestion. The idea of ‘lane rental’ or charging utility companies by the hour for roadworks could be a stroke of genius by making it in their best interest to complete works as efficiently as possible but that must not be at the expense of the quality of the work.

“It is incredibly frustrating for motorists when they are held up by roadworks particularly when they pass through and see very little actual work taking place, so any measures aimed at improving efficiency are welcome. It is also right that councils have further powers to ensure works are carried out at times when our roads are less busy.

“Drivers are crying out for a common sense and coordinated approach to local roadworks. Frustration levels reach their peak when the same stretch of road is repeatedly dug up again just weeks or months after one job is finished, either by another utility company or by the local authority to fix roads that may not have been repaired properly. It is critical that there is not a trade-off between the speed and the quality of works and that there is further improvement in the coordination between roads authorities and utility companies.”

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