HL Deb 02 March 1960 vol 221 cc653-5

2.35 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government how long the flow of traffic in London has been affected by the road repair work in—

  1. (1) Birdcage Walk, and
  2. (2) the Brompton Road,
and how long this work will continue; also whether the work could be expedited by the employment of two shifts in the twenty-four hours.]


My Lords, the road works in Birdcage Walk started on October 12, 1959, and are expected to be completed by the middle of April. It has been possible to maintain an adequate traffic flow throughout the period of the road works, and the expense of double-shift working would not have been justified. In Brompton Road traffic has been affected by work on the gas mains since October 26, 1959, except for the period from December 16 to January 3 inclusive. The Gas Board's work was completed on February 24, and reinstatement of the road surface is expected to be completed to-day. Every effort has been made to maintain the normal flow of traffic and, except at peak traffic periods, there has been little congestion.


My Lords, while thanking the noble Lord for his full reply, may I ask whether, if two shifts of men are engaged, if different workmen are employed, one shift needs to be paid more than the other?


My Lords, I am not quite sure that I can give the noble Lord an adequate answer to that. The normal procedure in these matters is for the authority which is carrying out the work to specify what it considers to be a reasonable period for the work to be carried out, and it is then left to the contractor himself to organise his methods of doing the work within the terms of his contract.


My Lords, may I ask one further question? Would it Apt be better, in view of the enormous time taken by having one shift, provided that the second shift does not have to be paid pore than the first, if the authorities could be encouraged to employ two shifts so that the work does not take so long?


My Lords, I can tell the noble Lord this. In rough terms—and one can only generalise in the roughest terms, because naturally circumstances vary with almost every job—one can normally calculate that double-shift working knocks about a quarter off the time and adds between 5 and 15 per cent. to the cost. Treble-shift working, if that can be done, just about halves the time and adds 15 to 25 per cent. to the cost. When one is talking about shift work, it must also be borne in mind that the extra cost and the extra fees obtained means that the money has been spent and therefore cannot be spent on some other scheme.


My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord very much for his full reply.


My Lords, did I hear the noble Lord aright when he said that, an adequate flow of traffic had been maintained along Birdcage Walk? Would he bear in mind that that is probably a matter of opinion?


Yes, my Lords; I quite agree.


My Lords, one of the principal difficulties is that at night that stretch of road is so badly lit that it seems dangerous and awkward. Could not some extra lighting be installed there at night?


My Lords, extra lighting could be installed, I should have thought, only as a very temporary measure. If the noble Lord means more red lights along it, or something like that, I will certainly pass on that suggestion.

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