HC Deb 04 May 1966 vol 727 cc1608-9
21. Mr. Iremonger

asked the Minister of Transport what delays there were during the recent holiday period on motorways; and what preparations she is making in this respect for Whitsun.

70. Sir B. Janner

asked the Minister of Transport whether in order to prevent unnecessary delays to traffic on both two and three-lane motorways resulting from carriageway maintenance and repairs, she will stipulate that a minimum of two lanes shall be provided for use in both directions whenever possible during such repairs; and if, for this purpose, she will experiment with the provision of temporary portable carriageways, as are used on German autobahns.

Mr. Swingler

Delays occurred twice on the M1 over Easter.

Our agent authorities are fully conscious of the need to keep at least two lanes of each carriageway open whenever peak traffic is expected, but circumstances which could not be foreseen prevented the reopening of the centre lanes in time for Easter week-end.

The use of temporary portable carriageways cannot be justified on dual three-lane carriageways but we will consider their use in future if prolonged congestion on a dual two-lane road seems likely.

Mr. Iremonger

Will the Minister make arrangements in advance of Whitsun? When it is obvious that the full width of the motorway is not going to be open, could not a reasonable diversion be arranged and clearly signposted well in advance so that motorists would not have to queue for about 10 miles when there is a blockage on the motorway?

Mr. Swingler

We certainly will consider the hon. Gentleman's suggestion but I should say that we have now issued instructions that two lanes are to be kept open. A blockage occurred over Easter owing to the breakdown of an asphalt mixing plant and I trust it will not occur again. We have asked the agent authorities to ensure that two lanes should always be kept open.

Mr. Spriggs

Is not the moral of this that more people should travel by rail?

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