§ Ms Glenda Jackson
[holding answer 27 February 1998]: I have asked the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Mr. Lawrie Haynes, to write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. Mark Oaten, dated 2 March 1998The Transport Minister, Glenda Jackson, has asked me to reply to your recent question about the provision of warning signs and notice of junction closures when carrying out motorway roadworks.It may be helpful if I explained that The Highways Agency has delegated authority under section 14 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, to close temporarily a road or junction in appropriate circumstances. The procedures associated with such action are set out in the Road Traffic (Temporary Restrictions) Procedure Regulations 1992. These require us to publish in one or more local newspapers, not less than seven days in advance, our intention to make an order under the 1984 Act. Once the order is made (ie signed by an appropriate Highways Agency officer), a further notice must be published stating the reason for the closure, when the closure will take place, and what alternative routes will be available. These alternative routes will have been discussed and agreed with the police and the local highway authority.In addition to these statutory requirements, the Highways Agency will, depending on the significance of the closure, alert other statutory bodies, emergency services, motoring organisations, public transport operators, local radio, large local businesses, etc. In some cases, information leaflets will be produced and distributed widely. Information signs are also sometimes placed at appropriate roadside locations to warn road users of a forthcoming restriction. Such signs must comply with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 1994 (TSRGD) and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions' own Traffic Signs Manual (TSM).In putting the closure in place, it is the roadworks contractor's responsibility to provide appropriate warning signs and information to road users about diversion routes. These will be stipulated in the contract and must also comply with the detailed regulations and guidance given in TSRGD and TSM.