A scheme designed to reduce congestion on Surrey’s busiest roads has been given the go-ahead by Surrey County Council and is due to start in April 2021.
The new lane rental scheme will give utility companies and the county council’s Highways teams who need to close a road or lane to complete roadworks a financial incentive to carry works out during off peak hours or deliver the works in different ways to lessen the impact on traffic.
In an average year, there are 42,000 works carried out on Surrey’s 3,000 miles of roads and charges will be applied for works which cause delay at peak times on the busiest routes, which make up 7.5% of the county’s road network.
Revenue from any charges will fund the scheme’s operational costs and any surplus funds will be reinvested in initiatives that further minimise disruption caused by roadworks, such as innovative engineering solutions trials and new materials to reinstate the highway quicker.
Surrey is the first local authority to adopt the lane rental scheme following successful pioneer schemes in Kent and London, which led to new government guidance encouraging uptake in 2018.
Commenting, Baroness Vere, a Minister at the Department of Transport said: “We know that roadworks can cause major congestion, particularly at peak times. This scheme from Surrey County Council will incentivise companies to move roadworks outside peak hours, helping everyone to get on with their journeys”
Cabinet Member for Highways at Surrey County Council, Councillor Matt Furniss added: “I’m delighted that this new scheme will go-ahead. We’re always looking at ways to reduce congestion on our road network and to keep Surrey moving.
“It is vital that organisations, including our own, have access to Surrey’s roads to both maintain them and to deliver vital improvements. We want this to continue, but at quieter times of the day when disruption for residents can be minimised, or by using different delivery methods to limit the impact of the works at busy times.”
Notification has been given to utility companies, who were consulted about the proposals in the summer of last year.