HC Deb 25 July 1956 vol 557 cc399-400
24. Mr. E. Johnson

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what he estimates to be the average daily rate of construction of a new road providing a dual carriageway with room for two lines of traffic each side; and what steps he is taking to accelerate the present rate of road contruction.

Mr. Molson

In theory, after all the preliminary work has been done, a carriageway surface can be laid at a rate of about 100 yards a day. This is, however, an artificial figure of no practical value as a yardstick since the rate of progress will vary greatly with the job. The use of modern road-making machinery is steadily increasing, and this will make the best contribution towards accelerating the rate of construction of the new roads included in the programme.

Mr. Johnson

May I ask my right hon. Friend why it takes so much longer to build roads in this country than on the Continent? Is he aware that in Germany roads are laid at the rate of 200 yards a day? Is he further aware that a recent report in the newspapers stated that the roads on the motorway from Milan to Naples, a distance of 167 miles, will be completed in two years?

Mr. Ellis Smith

If they can do it, we can.

Mr. Molson

In each case it depends to a large extent on the nature of the subsoil and the number of bridges, etc., which have to be constructed. To give an example of two by-pass roads at present being constructed—and we are satisfied that both are being constructed as expeditiously as possible—on the Markyate by-pass, to do less than a mile will take eighteen months and on the Preston by-pass to do one mile will take twelve months That arises out of the different circumstances in each case. Generally, the larger the job the heavier and more up-to-date equipment is used and therefore, relatively speaking, progress is more rapid.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

The right hon. Gentleman is no doubt aware that a number of hon. Members recently saw a great deal of road making in Germany and Holland where some remarkable machinery is used for laying the road surfaces. Can he assure the House that our equipment for laying road surfaces is at least as modern, up-to-date and effective as that now being used on the Continent?

Mr. Molson

I was under the impression that our equipment is as up-to-date as any, but in view of what the right hon. Gentleman has said, and if he will give me particulars, I will look into the matter.