HC Deb 17 June 2003 vol 407 cc109-10W
Mr. Greg Knight

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps were taken to co-ordinate the road works being carried out on the M1 Motorway north of Junction 26 with those under way south of Junction 25 on the same motorway. [119116]

Mr. Darling

I have asked the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Tim Matthews, to write to the right hon. Member.

Letter from Tim Matthews to Mr. Greg Knight, dated 17 June 2003:

I have been asked by the Secretary of State for Transport to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the co-ordination of roadworks on the M1 Motorway north of Junction 26 and south of Junction 25.

There are currently two major sets of roadworks in progress between Junctions 24 and 27 of the M1. These are the Junction 24 to 25 maintenance scheme and a project to install an improved motorway communications system between Junctions 24 and 27. As David York mentioned in his letter of 9th April in response to your previous question on this subject, the two schemes were combined in order to co-ordinate the work and minimise disruption to road users.

Both schemes were awarded to the same contractor, Geoffrey Osborne Ltd. As I am sure you will appreciate, there are advantages with this approach. As well as economies of scale, the work can be more efficiently organised and the contractor is allowed greater flexibility to co-ordinate the different type of work involved and reduce the length of time taken to complete the contract.

The maintenance scheme is now due for completion in August and the communications work in Spring 2004. I should also mention that work to provide noise barriers and safety fencing at Junction 28 is due to start in late July and last for about 12 weeks. This will involve occasional night time closures of lane 1 with an associated 50 mph speed limit.

If you would like further information, Iftikhar Mir, the Agency's Route Manager for this part of the M1, would be pleased to help. He can be contacted at our offices at Broadway, Broad Street, Birmingham, B15 1BL, or by telephone on 0121 678 8025.

Mr. Dhanda

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason highway authorities are not obliged to record their roadworks in the same way as utility companies; and what plans he has to ensure that all roadworks are recorded in the same way. [119557]

Mr. Jamieson

The New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 places a range of requirements on utility companies concerning the recording of their works in the street. The Code of Practice for Maintenance Management, published in 2001, governs, among other things, the recording by highway authorities of their works.

We are reviewing what changes might usefully be made to the current legislative regime for highway authority and utility works in order to ensure that they are carried out more efficiently and to reduce the disruption that they cause. We intend bringing forward a Traffic Management Bill, incorporating appropriate changes, once parliamentary time allows.