By Max Clarke

A million pounds is being spent to reduce disruptions caused by road works, transport secretary Phillip Hammond and London Mayor Boris Johnson announced today.

Persistent road works cause severe dalays on London’s extensive road network, accounting for an estimated 38% of all traffic delays at a cost to the national economy of £1 billion a year.

The £1 million will fund an 18-month research project to develop new technology and to examine innovative engineering techniques which could see utilities use temporary road surfacing methods and fast-setting replacement road surfaces. This would allow utility companies to carry out more work at quieter times and re-open roads during peak traffic periods to reduce delays and disruption.

Said Hammond: "Everyone knows how frustrating the delays caused by road works can be, which is why we want utilities and local authorities to be able to make the most of the technology available to help keep disruption to a minimum.

It was also confirmed today that work is progressing at the DfT on drafting regulations that would allow local authorities to run lane rental schemes. The Mayor has asked Transport for London to develop proposals for a targeted lane rental scheme on the capital’s busiest roads at peak times. That would incentivise utilities and other companies to carry out road works during the less busy periods of the day to reduce their impact on the travelling public.

"Having a lane rental scheme in London will hugely contribute towards clearing unnecessary disruption from the capital’s roads,” commented London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson. “Every company working on our roads wants to do so in the most cost effective way possible and lane rental will give them the clearest incentive to do so. But this is not about penalising utility companies. We want to help them work as efficiently as they can, which is why we will pay for the research of new technology so that they are able to carry out work as swiftly and with as little disruption as possible."