Highways chiefs told to scrap those miles of roadworks where no-one’s working

The M62.The M62.
The M62.
Long stretches of roadworks could be banned from motorways and major A-roads in England under new government plans to ease congestion.

Highways bosses have been told to limit roadworks to stretches of two miles at a time.

It is intended to combat congestion which can choke some of England’s busiest motorways.

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Drivers using the M1 and M62 have endured years of frustration as five sets of roadworks spanning up to 100 miles have disrupted travel along the main north-south and east-west corridors.

Stretches of the M1 near Northampton and Chesterfield have been particularly badly affected as motorists have had to put up with years of continual roadworks.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has told Highways England to enforce new rules to help drivers cope while a £15 billion road investment plan is put into action.

He has also asked that drivers be better informed of when roadworks are planned for so they can plan alternative routes.

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A Department for Transport spokesman said: “Our road investment strategy will deliver the biggest upgrade to Britain’s roads in a generation and secure our transport network for the long-term.

“But as it is delivered we’ve got to respect the drivers who use our roads every day. That means taking common-sense decisions to minimise frustrations wherever possible.”

The move suggests engineers will carry out improvements on smaller stretches rather than in large chunks.

A Highways England spokesman said: “We want to provide a better, safer experience for road users on England’s motorways and major A roads, including throughout roadworks where major upgrades are being carried out.

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“We are committed to minimising disruption from roadworks even further and are exploring managing work in different ways while ensuring good value for money for the public.”

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation research charity, said: “Putting out mile after mile of cones in one go might suit contractors but can drive motorists to distraction.

“Most road users will have negotiated endless stretches of coned-off carriageway where there is little or no sign of activity.

“Maintenance work is welcome but must be well planned. Drivers should be adequately informed of what is going on and when it is going to end. Our motorways are already the busiest in Europe. Taking away lane space should be done carefully and considerately.”