HC Deb 20 June 1988 vol 135 cc830-1
8. Mr. Franks

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans have been made to limit the extent of motorway road works during the August bank holiday weekend 1988.

Mr. Peter Bottomley

Wherever possible, roadworks involving lane closures are suspended during bank holidays and other peak holiday periods. Some roadworks are unavoidable at these times. Sometimes temporary removal of a large contraflow can be more disruptive than leaving it in place.

Mr. Franks

Is my hon. Friend aware that certain parts of the country, including my constituency, have local economies that are largely dependent on tourism? In granting further contracts for motorway repair and maintenance, will my hon. Friend bear that in mind?

Mr. Bottomley

We shall go on doing the best that we can, and we hope that that will be better than previously.

Mr. Tony Lloyd

Does the Minister understand the anger and frustration of hundreds of thousands of motorists caught in traffic jams over all holiday periods, not just the August bank holiday? People have complained to me about the incompetence of a Department that simply cannot get roadworks done in such a schedule as to allow holiday traffic to go to and fro at the busiest time of the year.

Mr. Bottomley

Yes, but we have two advantages. First, we are spending money on doing some of this reconstruction. Secondly, we do not have the hon. Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Snape) saying that he wants all the money for some other mode of transport. We go for an effective balance.

Mr. Simon Coombs

Does the answer that my hon. Friend has just given refer to the replacement of central barriers as well as lane repairs? I believe that the lane rental procedure does not operate for central barrier repairs, which are therefore taking a great deal longer.

Mr. Bottomley

I should like to see reward and penalty extended to most aspects of work on roads, all the way from potholes through to major motorway reconstruction.