Firms to be charged for digging up roads at peak times
Traffic congestion caused by roadworks could be eased under
a new scheme being introduced by the county council.
Companies will be charged up to £2,000 per day for digging up
the busiest roads on the Kent network at peak times under a lane
rental scheme starting in May.
It is aimed at pushing utility contractors to work during the
night and at off-peak times or to use techniques, such as
tunneling, more often to avoid closing the road altogether.
The scheme covers about 465 roads in areas most likely to be
affected by roadwork disruption. Money raised will be spent on
other schemes to cut congestion.
The initiative has been given the green light by the government.
Transport minister Norman Baker said: "Everyone who uses the roads
knows how frustrating it is to find major routes being dug up in
the middle of the rush hour.
"Kent's lane rental scheme puts road users and businesses at the
heart of the county, encouraging utility companies and local
authorities to complete their work as quickly as possible."
Cllr Bryan Sweetland (Con) cabinet member for highways, said:
"The scheme will mean companies will have to think intelligently
about the scale and duration of works on our key routes, or incur a
substantial charge for the disruption that they cause to Kent's
Companies have given a more cautious welcome. Les Guest, head of
the National Joint Utilities Group, said: ""While we are yet to be
convinced lane rental will deliver substantial additional benefits
over and above the existing legislation already available, we
believe that Kent County Council's approach takes a sophisticated
look at using lane rental in a very targeted way."
KCC already operates a permit scheme, requiring companies to get
advance permission to carry out work.
The scheme will come into effect on May 28.
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