New Department for Transport scheme aims to cut roadwork congestion by half

A new Department for Transport ‘Lane Rental’ scheme could see roadwork-caused delays reduced through the introduction of £2,500 daily fines for utility companies working during peak traffic times.

Picture the scene – it’s Monday morning and you’ve slightly overslept. You’ve frantically got dressed faster than Clark Kent transforms into Superman and then dived into your car only to find that, as luck would have it, it turns out to be the day that surprise roadworks have decided to appear on your route to work and the traffic seems to be endless.

It’s a horrible feeling that we’ve all experienced but, thanks to new plans from the Department for Transport, this kind of nightmare morning may soon become a thing of the past. A scheme that has already been successfully trialled in Kent and London, the DfT are considering a UK wide lane rental scheme that would see utility companies severely charged for digging up roads during peak hours of traffic.

Currently, many motorists find themselves baffled when one company will dig a hole and then fill it in, only to have another company dig up the same spot weeks later. The fines, which can be up to £2,500 a day, aim to encourage utility companies to work together and minimise road disruption by coordinating their repair and roadworking hours outside of rush hour periods. 

The Department for Transport estimate that around 2.5 million roadworks are carried out every year with a cost of £4 billion to businesses through employees or deliveries being late. Trialling the lane rental scheme in Kent and London, DfT say that they successfully managed to encourage utility companies to work together and subsequently saw a 50% drop in delays caused by roadworks.

Talking of the scheme, Transport Minister Jo Johnson said:

"Lane rental has seen a massive drop in disruption to drivers as utility companies have changed when and where they carry out work. Now we want millions of motorists around England to get the same benefits."

If the plan was to go ahead, DfT say that they would aim to have it implemented across the UK by the end of 2019. What do you think of the potential plan – do you think that daily rental fines could help make your morning and evening commute easier? We’d like to hear your opinion on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

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