HC Deb 21 June 1994 vol 245 c138W
Mr. Janner

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the cost of delays on the M1 during the past 12 months.

Mr. Key

As this is an operational matter for the Highways Agency, the chief executive will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. Greville Janner, dated 20 June 1994: You recently put down a Parliamentary Question asking the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the cost of delays on the MI during the past 12 months. As this falls within the Highways Agency's area of responsibility, I have been asked to reply to your question. We do not have a precise figure for the cost of delays on the MI. There has been no pressing need to obtain one since maintenance works are an essential and continuing task and driven by the commitment to keep the network in a reasonable state of repair. However, a rough estimate of delay costs for the past 12 months is £70M, which represents just over 10 per cent. of the figure for the motorway network as a whole. In recent years, delay cost figures have increasingly reflected the growing use of incentive (lane rental) contracts which are completed approximately 30 per cent. faster than conventional ones and therefore have a significant effect on reducing disruption. The even greater use of lane rental now (it is currently used for every scheme unless there are technical reasons why it cannot be) is expected to have yet further influence on minimising delays. We know that since the introduction of lane rental in 1984, the saving to road users has been in excess of £120M. While we do not routinely measure delays at roadworks, we do use a system called 'QUADRO' (QUeues And Delays at ROad works) which estimates the cost of delays and accidents at individual scheme sites. This is used extensively to optimise traffic management arrangements at roadworks. Considerable effort is made to keep delays on the network to a minimum. Apart from lane rental, some of the measures that have been taken include combining essential maintenance work with motorway widening schemes, together with the greater use of night-time and weekend working, mobile lane closures, narrow lanes and tidal flow systems. And we are constantly reviewing the scope for adding further initiatives to the list.