HC Deb 13 July 1995 vol 263 c705W
Mr. David Howell

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when he now expects the A3 trunk road works in the region of Guildford to be completed; what penalty clauses are in operation for time overruns; and what compensation will be paid to those businesses which have suffered a prolonged downturn in custom as a result of the roadworks and consequent delays; [33643]

(2) what studies he has made of the traffic delays caused during 1995 by the A3 roadwork operations in the Guildford region; what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the conduct of the contactors with the local authorities and with the signposting and provision of information to motorists; and if he will make a statement. [33642]

Mr. Watts

These are operational matters for the highways agency. I have asked the chief executive to write to my right hon. Friend.

Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. David Howell, dated 17 July 1995: The Minister for Railways and Roads, Mr John Watts, has asked me to write to you in reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions about roadwork on the A3 at Guildford. No studies as such, have been made of the traffic delays caused during 1995 by these roadwork. Traffic conditions are, of course, being watched closely by operational staff supervising the contract. Our agents, Surrey County Council, are monitoring carefully, the performance and conduct of the contractor as part of their contract supervision role. It would not be appropriate to comment further on this prior to the completion and final settlement of the contract. We are satisfied with the adequacy of the signposting which extends from the M3 at Winchester to the M25 junction at Wisley. Information to the public has been given a high priority. A full press briefing was held before the start of works and frequent television and local radio interviews have been held as works have progressed. Provided no unavoidable delays occur, the works are expected to be completed by the end of July. The contract is of the lane rental type which provides for the contractor to be charged £20,000 for every day he overruns the contract completion date, as adjusted for any delays caused by factors outside his control. The contract also provides for the payment to the contractor of a bonus for early completion. There is no provision at law for compensation for loss of business because of changes in traffic arising from roadworks.