HC Deb 31 October 1995 vol 265 cc135-6W
Mr. Murphy

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what are the estimated costs for the current repairs to the M4 between junctions 8 and 9 and 6; [39590]

(2) what plans he has to reduce congestion on the M4 between junctions 8 and 9 and 6, caused by roadworks; [39588]

(3) what representations he has received concerning the disruption caused by roadworks on the M4 between junctions 8 and 9 and 6; [39592]

(4) what are the estimated costs to business of the roadworks on the M4 between junctions 8 and 9 and 6; [39589]

(5) when he expects the roadworks on the M4 between junctions 8 and 9 and 6 to be completed; [39587]

(6) if he will list the contractors who bid for the current roadworks on the M4 between junctions 8 and 9 and 6 on the M4; [39591]

Mr. Watts

These are operational matters for the Highways Agency. I have asked the chief executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. Paul Murphy, dated 31 October 1995:

As you know, the Minister for Railways and Roads, Mr John Watts, has asked me to write to you in reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions about the current roadworks on the M4 between Junctions 8/9 and 6.

This essential maintenance work includes overlaying the existing worn out surface with new hot rolled asphalt, upgrading the existing safety fencing, hardening of the central reserve and bridge rehabilitation and reconstruction works. The scheme is programmed for about 21 weeks and is expected to be completed in mid March 1996. The estimated cost of these works is about £10.1m. The agency has made no estimate of the costs to business arising from these works.

We have sought to reduce congestion arising from the scheme by giving wide publicity before the works started on both local and national radio and in the press. Warning signs were also erected on the M4 and M25 giving advance warning of the impending works. In addition, leaflets giving information and advice about the works have been distributed to local libraries, garages, service stations and Heathrow Airport. Many organisations, including the AA and RAC, were also notified in advance of the works starting. To minimise disruption during the course of the works, a minimum of two lanes will be kept open in each direction and slip road closure at Junction 7 will be restricted to night-times. As an incentive for the contractor to complete the works as quickly as possible, the contract has been let on a lane rental basis. This provides a bonus of £20,000 a day to be paid to the contractor for early completion but imposes a similar charge on the contractor if he overruns.

During the first week of the scheme, 36 telephone calls about the disruption caused by the works were received on the information line and about a dozen were received direct at the Agency's regional office.

The contract has been let to Camas Associated Asphalt. However, without the agreement of each of them, the Agency would not wish to publish the names of the other contractors who submitted unsuccessful bids as this is considered to be commercially confidential.