Utility firms and councils which dig up roads will be forced to work at weekends in a major crackdown on traffic congestion, PoliticsHome has learned. Ministers will unveil plans to fine companies up to £5,000 a day if they leave roadworks in place on Saturdays and Sundays when no one is working on them.
Those that do not want their staff to work at the weekends will have to pack away the roadworks on a Friday and put them out again the following Monday. Charges would also be levied on firms which leave temporary traffic lights in place after the work they were carrying out has finished. The moves are aimed at bringing to an end the frustration experienced by motorists left languishing in needless traffic jams on council-run A roads across the country.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the shift to seven-day working would also speed up projects and leave roads free of disruption. He said: “I want to deliver better journeys for drivers. Roadworks 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.”
A government source said the plans could also provide an £8 billion boost for the economy by dramatically reducing journey times.
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