/ Motoring

Bring on hefty fines for rush hour roadworks

Wouldn’t it be better if roadworks were only carried out at night? Well, Transport for London (TfL) will soon be allowed to charge utility companies a hefty fee for digging up London’s roads during rush hour.

Would you like a similar measure to be introduced in your area?

Forget the Budget – and spiralling fuel costs that are set to soar even higher in August – if you’re looking for some good car-related news this week, look to London. The Department for Transport has agreed to let TfL introduce a ‘lane rental scheme’.

No, this isn’t a scare story like the talk by David Cameron on selling our roads off to China or India. This is a sensible move that will allow the capital’s transport department to charge utility companies a hefty fee for digging up roads during the morning and afternoon rush hours.

The aim is to encourage them to do roadworks at night or outside peak hours, minimising disruption for all road users.

Out-of-hours roadworks

Out-of-hours works are frequently carried out on our motorways. Sure, I’ve cursed when caught in a traffic jam at midnight on the M25 due to the motorway going down to a single lane for carriageway repairs. But I’m definitely far less upset than I would have been if it had happened during the day when I was on the way to a meeting.

So I applaud the Department of Transport’s move, as it may just help ease congestion on our overcrowded roads.

And perhaps it’ll put an end to the flurry of roadworks that always seem to happen at this time of year; with councils presumably trying to use up their financial year’s remaining budget. Just this week, four sets of traffic light works have sprung up on my 15-mile route from the suburbs into central London.

Have you heard of any other local authorities setting up similar schemes, where utilities are fined for rush hour works? Would you like roadworks to be relegated to sleeping hours?

Should utilities only be allowed to do roadworks at night?

Maybe, just as long as roadworks are outside peak hours (54%, 79 Votes)

Yes, roadworks shouldn't be done during the daytime (31%, 45 Votes)

No, roadworks should be allowed whenever they like (14%, 21 Votes)

Total Voters: 145

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Doing the work at night time is obviously a good idea in theory but, in practice, what would happen – as now – would be that the parts of the roads which are to be worked on would remain coned off, thereby creating delays for traffic whether the work was actually happening at that moment or not.


What about the increased costs of carrying out work at night? Presumably those who are in favour would be happy with an increase in fuel tax and/or vehicle excise duty. It would be interesting to see comparative costs of day and night work for the same task and also a comparison of the number of accidents.

By all means try to avoid rush hour but I think we need to be realistic and not expect all repairs to be carried out at night.

Charlie Reed says:
27 March 2012

Road Works at night, is this going far enough ?

Disturbed sleep, limited hours to do the works means temporary closures (of the works – if the carrigeway can be made useable by traffic), extra cost of labour working unsociable hours – it’ll end up on YOUR utility bill ! Encouraging utilities to get on to and off roads quicker has been the source of a lot of thinking since the demise of the Public Utilities Street Works Act of 1956. The best we can do is (purportedly) to ‘hit them in the pocket’ (see my comment above – we, the consumer will pick up the bill). Lane Rental (as much as much as I don’t like the idea) is the way forward PROVIDED all utilities, local authorities and any other similar organisations work together to plan and execute street works simultaneously. Yes, apportioning costs of trenching, reinstatement and guaranteeing the works etc. will be complicated but it’s not rocket science. Planning the works by the various undertakers can be computerised (a lot of information is gathered by the highway authorities now) and cost apportionment needs the meeting of minds that want the system to succeed. Emergency works will always be required at unsociable / uneconomic times but then we don’t live in an ideal world.


Why is it that the default solution to problems like this is to slap a fine on the offending party?
In reality the value of the fine always ends up coming from us the public at large. The offending company just increases prices to whoever (usually us) to pay this fine.
So at the end of the day the victim ends up indirectly paying the fine. How is that helping anything?
The only way is to make those who actually manage these cockups personally responsible, and they should personally pay the fine.

Then it might actually do some good.
Think of the managers of energy supply companies and banks who could have been personally been stung, proper justice and much to the delight of us all.


Surely the importnat thing is to ensure roadwaorks are completed in the shortest possible time. To do that then utilitiy companies should have to pay for the road they are closing at a goodly rate depending on the amont of traffic inconvenienced. If time was costly then maybe it would pay them to get on wiht the job. Seing roadwoarks with nobody evenm on site is not good enoutgh. Staring work at 9 or 9.30, stoppinhg for lunch and tea breaks, then going off the job at 4 pm is not good enough. Traffic interuptions cost us all in many ways so if the utilities have to pass on the costs so be it we all pay one way or another and congsetion is very expensive.

Andy McIntyre says:
2 December 2015

All non-emergency road-works should, at least, be STARTED at night-time. Then come morning, if the holes/trenches cannot be safely bridged with temporary thick-steel panels due to their size, then by all means continue with them during the day.