New service to help motorists avoid roadworks misery

Motoring groups have welcomed a planned new service providing real-time roadworks information to help drivers avoid jams.

Data on live and planned works should be available on the Street Manager system from next year, helping road users navigate the millions of delay-causing works in the UK each year.

The system, to be used by both councils and utility companies and which could be incorporated into route-planners on sat-navs and smartphones and in apps, may be an antidote to the “necessary evil” of roadworks, the AA said.

Head of roads policy Jack Cousens said it could prove “highly valued and popular” after its scheduled launch.

He said: “A one-stop shop for all roadworks across the country will not only help commuters throughout rush hour, but be beneficial to freight companies who transport three-quarters of the nation’s goods.”

UK drivers wasted an average of 31 hours in rush-hour traffic last year, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

The RAC’s road policy spokesman Nicholas Lyes said: “This new technology, together with the plethora of existing online travel planning tools on offer, has the potential to give drivers a clear and accurate picture of what their journey will be like, saving them time and hassle.”

New bidding guidance on “lane rental schemes”, which allow councils in England to charge utility companies for working on the busiest roads at peak times, has also been announced.

It aims to encourage companies to plan with councils by co-ordinating works at quieter times to reduce disruption.

Mr Cousens said: “Drivers and local authorities are frustrated when roadworks seem to repeat themselves, so focusing utility companies to encourage co-operative works with other parties and fixing at off-peak times are a good thing.”

Martin Tett, the LGA’s transport spokesman, added: “The extension of lane rental powers, long called for by councils, will give incentives to utilities to minimise disruption on the busiest roads throughout the country.”

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