Utility companies facing 'lane rental costs' with penalities if roadworks run over
Utilities companies are under fire again less than 12 months after new measures were introduced to reduce disruption caused by the 300,000 holes dug in the capital's roads each year.
London Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy criticised utility firms over "needless jams caused by poorly planned roadworks" and said that the only solution was to have lane rental schemes where firms would be fined if they ran over their allotted time.
A roadworks permit scheme was introduced on London’s busiest roads in January 2010. Under the scheme, utility companies and other organisations that wish to dig up roads now need to apply for a permit before they can begin.
The permit applications were designed to enable TfL to plan and coordinate the timing of roadworks, providing greater opportunities for multiple companies to work on the same sections of road simultaneously.
Chairman of London Councils Transport and Environment Committee, Councillor Mike Fisher said: "It can be extremely frustrating for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians as well as residents and businesses to find the same road has been dug up again for yet another utility company to carry out work.
"The permit scheme puts boroughs back in the driving seat by giving them powers to co-ordinate road works so delays and inconvenience are kept to a minimum. Action will be taken against utility companies which do not meet the conditions of their permit."
However, the scheme is not proving to efficient enough according to Hendy who told BBC News: "I am as frustrated as the rest of London at the needless jams caused by poorly planned and managed roadworks. TfL is working hard to smooth traffic flow in the capital, but to make a real difference the utilities must radically reduce the amount of time they spend digging up our roads.
"So far this year, Transport for London (TfL) has issued 227 fixed penalty notices and utility companies have been fined more than £300,000 in overstay charges, where they have failed to complete works on time."
December 8, 2010