HC Deb 01 June 1960 vol 624 cc1423-4
29. Mr. Grimond

asked the Minister of Transport the present cost per mile for the construction of dual carriageway four-track roads and any estimated costs of flyovers.

Mr. Marples

It is not possible to give a standard rate per mile, since the cost varies so widely according to the nature of the terrain, the number of rivers, railways and roads to be crossed and the extent to which crossings on the level are eliminated. Recent contracts have varied between £250,000 and £400,000 a mile. Similarly, while a simple flyover in the open country might cost £150,000, one in an urban area might cost almost ten times as much.

Mr. Grimond

As the Minister speeds about the world on his bicycle has he notice that dual carriageway roads and what, in this country, are called fly- overs,—which means one road crossing another—are becoming quite common outside this country, while the British way of life seems to be tied to the idea of the roundabout? Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us what is holding up the provision of proper cross-overs on dual carriageways? Is it the expense, is it the difficulty of acquiring land, or is it trouble in the Cabinet?

Mr. Marples

I do not think that that supplementary question arises out of the Question on the Order Paper which was directed to estimated costs. I am afraid that I cannot give the hon. Gentleman an estimate—one can never do that with civil engineering costs. The roundabout is an old method, and underpasses are being constructed. There is the one at Hammersmith Broadway. I believe that one was opened at Hook the other day, and there is the one at Hyde Park Corner. It is, therefore, quite wrong to say that they are not being undertaken.

Mr. Popplewell

In view of the right hon. Gentleman's observation that roundabouts are really outmoded, will he see that in any future road development we shall have—instead of these cumbersome, unnecessary roundabouts—flyovers or clover-leaf bridges, so that traffic may make the best use of the expenditure involved in building these modern highways?

Mr. Marples

The roundabout is an old idea that preceded the underpass and the flyover, but I did not say that it was completely obsolete. There are a large number of places, where the traffic is light, where roundabouts are very suitable. Where the traffic is not suitable for roundabouts, we shall have flyovers and underpasses.

Mr. Baxter

Flyovers seem to be very interesting things. Can the right hon. Gentleman say where we can see one in Scotland?

Mr. Marples

That question should be directed to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.