Crackdown on roadworks in Worcestershire after driver fury

Evesham Journal: A hard-hitting crackdown on roadworks is on the way A hard-hitting crackdown on roadworks is on the way

A HARD-HITTING crackdown on roadworks is being launched in Worcestershire - in a bid to appease furious drivers and ease congestion.

Your Worcester News can reveal a new 'permit' scheme is being put together, meaning utility firms must pay to secure agreement before digging up the roads.

The plan, which has been created by Worcestershire County Council in response to mounting anger from motorists, means:

- An organisation must purchase a permit from the council before starting a scheme, and secure the authority's agreement on the time and length of the work

- The council will be free to refuse the permit, or order it to start on a different date to avoid gridlock if it clashes with other projects

- The permit will come with a raft of conditions specified by the council, which could include weekend and night working

- Bodies that over-spill the agreed time will be slapped with a fine, which could run to thousands if it ends in prosecution

Under the Traffic Management Act 2004, councils do have powers to launch permit schemes to be in control of all roadwork projects in their patch.

But over the last decade very few local authorities have taken it up, mainly because of the costs involved.

But after years of gripes in Worcestershire, the county council says the time is right to take advantage of the laws, and wants to share costs by teaming up with Shropshire Council, which wants the same crackdown.

Under the law the councils cannot make a profit from it, but charge enough for the permits to employ staff to draw up each agreement, and dish out fines if necessary.

It will apply to all roadworks on 'main roads' in Worcestershire, as deemed by the council.

At the moment, utility firms need to give the council advance warning of a roadworks scheme, but do not need to pay for a permit or agree to any demands.

A report on it, which is set to be backed by the Conservative cabinet on Thursday, says roadworks in Worcestershire cause "disruption and delay", lead to "substantial costs" in lost time for drivers, and are "detrimental" to the county's appeal.

Around 12,000 highways and street works take place in Worcestershire a year, many by bodies like BT, Severn Trent and the Environment Agency.

Under the change even the council's own roadworks would require a permit, but there would be no charge.

Where a charge is applied for work that runs late, the council say it will issue a fixed penalty notice of £120, followed by the risk of further fines or prosecution for persistent breaches.

In recent months roadworks have infuriated drivers, including the current £180,000 12-week scheme by Seven Trent to replace pipes in Worcester's A38 Bath Road, which runs until April, and the ongoing saga to replace the 85-year-old Abbey Bridge in Evesham, which is four months behind schedule.

Councillor John Smith, cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: "All local authorities have had problems with roadworks over-running, companies not doing the job when they said they would, things not getting done on time.

"We want to reduce the problems on the highways, that's what this is about."

Work to design the scheme, including the permit costs, will kick off in August and the council is planning to then get approval on those details from the Department for Transport.

Subject to consultation, it will launch from October 2015.

Comments (9)

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10:20am Tue 4 Feb 14

lizzyloolah says...

Hooray!
Hooray! lizzyloolah
  • Score: 2

10:25am Tue 4 Feb 14

Casmal says...

Love the lead-in time. Nice to they're treating it as an urgent priority!!
Love the lead-in time. Nice to they're treating it as an urgent priority!! Casmal
  • Score: 5

11:31am Tue 4 Feb 14

DaleWilson966 says...

Roadworks, dont talk to me about road works, there an outrage!!!! I dont care if there are pot holes all over the road, I dont want my journey extended by 2 minutes and 43 seconds every time i try and get to the shops because of road works. Look at those work men, lazy men aren't they, one of them sat on that bench for 5 hours not doing any work wasting time, I know because i sat and watched him. I said " i Hope you know thats ratepayers money your wasting" he said "but its a saturday" i said 'i dont care, its still ratepayers money'
And look at the state of the road by me full of potholes, but do the council fix it noooo?
Ive got half a mind to go up to county hall with a soviet tank and make some pot holes there, see how they like it, ohh different then !!!!
Roadworks, dont talk to me about road works, there an outrage!!!! I dont care if there are pot holes all over the road, I dont want my journey extended by 2 minutes and 43 seconds every time i try and get to the shops because of road works. Look at those work men, lazy men aren't they, one of them sat on that bench for 5 hours not doing any work wasting time, I know because i sat and watched him. I said " i Hope you know thats ratepayers money your wasting" he said "but its a saturday" i said 'i dont care, its still ratepayers money' And look at the state of the road by me full of potholes, but do the council fix it noooo? Ive got half a mind to go up to county hall with a soviet tank and make some pot holes there, see how they like it, ohh different then !!!! DaleWilson966
  • Score: -10

12:53pm Tue 4 Feb 14

laughing girl says...

Top of Newtown road when will it ever end, the roadworks, the mud on the road, drive in the bus lane not in the bus lane, now it seems you can not turn right at the junction of Canterbury road, signs says you cannot however cars and buses are turning right. I have also noticed that they have taken down the lights and re surfaced the road..... I am sure in a few weeks they will be digging up the road again
Top of Newtown road when will it ever end, the roadworks, the mud on the road, drive in the bus lane not in the bus lane, now it seems you can not turn right at the junction of Canterbury road, signs says you cannot however cars and buses are turning right. I have also noticed that they have taken down the lights and re surfaced the road..... I am sure in a few weeks they will be digging up the road again laughing girl
  • Score: 6

3:43pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Geoffery1966 says...

Of course the latest trend by these idiots is to dig a hole in the pavement and then park their vans on the road and put up traffic lights up because of the vans when there was no need for the traffic lights in the first place.
Of course the latest trend by these idiots is to dig a hole in the pavement and then park their vans on the road and put up traffic lights up because of the vans when there was no need for the traffic lights in the first place. Geoffery1966
  • Score: 6

8:42pm Tue 4 Feb 14

keep it real says...

That's all fine and dandy, will they make them actually repair the road to a proper standard that will last years not months once they have finished the works. From what I have seen these companies do a botch repair job and the council highways have to come out a few months later and repair the botch creating more traffic chaos and charging the taxpayer for a job that should have been done and checked properly in the first place !!
That's all fine and dandy, will they make them actually repair the road to a proper standard that will last years not months once they have finished the works. From what I have seen these companies do a botch repair job and the council highways have to come out a few months later and repair the botch creating more traffic chaos and charging the taxpayer for a job that should have been done and checked properly in the first place !! keep it real
  • Score: 4

9:18pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Nortynorse says...

Perhaps if some of the "misguided" on this forum care to listen to a couple of salient points on this matter then you might actually learn something:-

1. The men operating the lights are "requested" by the County Council to man the lights at peak hours, they might get paid but not by joe taxpayer, the company carrying out the work pays the bill at the request of WCC.

2. The lights can be manually controlled however depending on the flow of traffic this is not always a suitable alternative. I have worked on roads where abuse from irate drivers is nothing new, try being out there.

3. What worries me is JOHN (Evesham bridge fiasco) SMITH is leading this, hardly inspires me with confidence, does it you????
Perhaps if some of the "misguided" on this forum care to listen to a couple of salient points on this matter then you might actually learn something:- 1. The men operating the lights are "requested" by the County Council to man the lights at peak hours, they might get paid but not by joe taxpayer, the company carrying out the work pays the bill at the request of WCC. 2. The lights can be manually controlled however depending on the flow of traffic this is not always a suitable alternative. I have worked on roads where abuse from irate drivers is nothing new, try being out there. 3. What worries me is JOHN (Evesham bridge fiasco) SMITH is leading this, hardly inspires me with confidence, does it you???? Nortynorse
  • Score: -1

1:28am Wed 5 Feb 14

Old Uncle says...

When the County is the offending party what good does it do to have the permit money go from one pocket to another? And who will fine the county? Permits are not the answer. Planning is the answer. An overall plan to actually manage the roadworks and minimize the disruptions is needed The county should be doing that already. The old saying is " If you fail to plan - you plan to fail". Epic Fail!
When the County is the offending party what good does it do to have the permit money go from one pocket to another? And who will fine the county? Permits are not the answer. Planning is the answer. An overall plan to actually manage the roadworks and minimize the disruptions is needed The county should be doing that already. The old saying is " If you fail to plan - you plan to fail". Epic Fail! Old Uncle
  • Score: 5

1:40pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Marant says...

You'll never get proper road fixes whilst the Council's on a yearly budget. From their point of view it's better to pay £200 a year every year for a quick fix, than £500 for a proper one that lasts 5 years and blows this year's budget.

Budgets need to be worked out over several years for effective repair, but that won't happen because another party might get in in the meantime.

(and no, I don't think it costs £200 to fix the roads, it's just an example to explain what I mean - I know some wit would bring it up :-) ).
You'll never get proper road fixes whilst the Council's on a yearly budget. From their point of view it's better to pay £200 a year every year for a quick fix, than £500 for a proper one that lasts 5 years and blows this year's budget. Budgets need to be worked out over several years for effective repair, but that won't happen because another party might get in in the meantime. (and no, I don't think it costs £200 to fix the roads, it's just an example to explain what I mean - I know some wit would bring it up :-) ). Marant
  • Score: 1

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