§ 17. Mr. GUY
asked the Minister of Transport whether he, or the highway authority or the bridge authority, will be responsible for initiating and carrying out a bridge improvement scheme where a bridge carrying a road over a railway or canal is alleged to be insufficiently strong to carry the traffic using the road and has been placed on the priority list submitted to the Minister as urgently in need of reconstruction, and he has approved the proposed scheme?
Either the highway authority or the owner of the bridge may take the initiative, and the Bridges Act, 1929, enables agreements to be made between them for the reconstruction and improvement of dangerous or unsuitable structures.
§ Mr. LOUIS SMITH
Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that sufficient progress has been made during the last two months in this respect?
I am not entirely satisfied with the rapidity with which the matter is progressing, but I still hope for the co-operation of local authorities.
§ 20. Sir GIFFORD FOX
asked the Minister of Transport whether, in view of the fact that it has been demonstrated by those of the county conferences on weak bridges which have already taken place that the operation of Section 30 of the Road and Rail Traffic Act, 1933, will inconvenience road transport, especially in the industrial areas of the Kingdom, and that even the most expeditious programme of reconstruction of weak bridges on main roads will take at least two or three years to execute, he will state what action he proposes to 1804 take in the meanwhile to prevent public inconvenience?
I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave on this subject on the 5th March to the hon. Member for Newport, Mon. (Mr. Clarry), of which I am sending him a copy. Any restrictions are bound to cause a certain amount of inconvenience, but by means of the conferences which have been held by local authorities, and my own discussions with bridge authorities, I am taking steps to reduce inconvenience to a minimum.