A crackdown on roadworks will be launched in Staffordshire to stop drivers getting caught up in hours of delays on major routes, under plans unveiled today.
Firms will be required to apply for a permit for works under the new proposals which county council bosses say could save millions of pounds.
The council says it will have greater control over when works take place.
Under the current system, a firm has to inform highways officers about planned works to allow projects to be coordinated but council chiefs say it can sometimes be difficult to persuade companies to cooperate.
They say a permit scheme will give them greater control to encourage working outside peak hours and keep residents and motorists better informed about projects.
It comes after drivers faced months of disruption during works on the A461 Walsall Road near Muckley Corner, while 10 weeks of works in Hednesford Road and Cannock Road in Cannock earlier this year caused chaos. A pilot scheme in Kent saw complaints about congestion drop by 25 per cent, reducing the number of days of roadworks by 1,500 and saving £1 million.
Simon Tagg, Staffordshire’s cabinet support member for transport, said: “We have bold, ambitious plans for Staffordshire and it is hugely important to local communities, businesses and transport services that we keep Staffordshire moving.
“Through the introduction of a permit scheme for activities on the highway network, we will have greater control over works, enabling the promotion of better working practices, improved coordination and quality of works, better informed residents and highway users, and reduced impact whilst essential works take place.”
Firms, such as utility companies, would have to apply to the council for a permit.
The council would then be able to issue penalties for any breaches of regulations –including working outside agreed hours and overrunning. It is expected to cost the council between £50,000 and £100,000 in the first year. The plans will be discussed by the authority’s cabinet on Wednesday.