The days of motorists facing roadworks-induced traffic jams could soon be over, following the announcement of new measures by transport minister Norman Baker.
Roadworks have provided a thorn in the side of drivers across the UK, with potholes causing damage to tyres and other car parts while road repair work itself has led to traffic build up and delays.
While this maintenance is crucial to the effective management of the UK highway network, these latest changes could see efficiencies improved.
Under the plans, announced by Mr Baker, utility companies that dig up sections of the road must agree a time frame for completion with the local council.
Any work that goes beyond this agreed period, in situations where the utility firm had failed to negotiate extra time, will then face an overrun charge for every additional day they spend on the road.
Under the plans, the maximum daily overrun charge these utility firms can face is £2,500 with factors like the work involved and the street occupied playing a part in the pricing.
From October 1st 2012, this charge will then rise to £5,000 a day for the first three extra days, with costs of £10,000 a day from the fourth extra day onward.
Norman Baker said: "Increasing these charges means that utilities will pay penalties which reflect the cost of the disruption suffered when works go on longer than they should.
"The increases will also provide an incentive for utilities to finish works on time and prevent people sitting in unnecessary traffic jams in the first place."