HC Deb 19 June 1968 vol 766 cc1081-2
37. Mr. Astor

asked the Minister of Transport when he anticipates that tenders will be invited for the construction of the M4 motorway between Tormarton and Winnersh; and what is the estimated date of completion.

Mr. Swingler

We expect to invite tenders for two contracts, covering the 30 miles between Tormarton and Lidding-ton, in January, 1969, and three contracts for the remainder in the latter half of that year. We hope to complete the greater part of this 71-mile length of motorway by the end of 1971; however, preparatory work on the 16½ miles between Wickham and Theale in Berkshire has encountered unforeseen difficulties and this section is unlikely to be completed until the first half of 1972.

Mr. Astor

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the volume of traffic on the A4 is already excessive and contributing to danger and fatal accidents? Will he therefore press ahead as fast as he can with the M4 route?

Mr. Swingler

We are well aware of the urgent need to go forward with this programme. Unfortunately, the incidence of foot-and-mouth disease, and the restrictions imposed then, delayed the soil survey for a considerable period and that is the reason for the delay, explained in the latter part of my reply. In every other respect we will go forward.

Mr. Dobson

Would my hon Friend agree that there are sections of the A4 which are particularly hazardous and dangerous? Could he concentrate on getting work started on these sections?

Mr. Swingler

As my hon. Friend knows, this is being constructed section by section, according to a definite plan based on the priorities. If there are any particular cases to which my hon. Friend wants to draw attention, I should be pleased if he would let me have the details.