Tackling £1bn cost of motorway closures

Published on Thursday, 19 May 2011 12:10
Posted by Scott Buckler

A Government strategy to tackle congestion caused by motorway closures and drive down the £1bn annual cost to the economy was unveiled today by Roads Minister Mike Penning ahead of a national summit (May 19th)

The Minister also announced the launch of a £3m fund for police forces to purchase laser scanning technology to speed up of the investigation process and incident clear up times.

At a high-level summit in London today, the Roads Minister, Home Office, Highways Agency (HA) and police, fire and ambulance chiefs will commit to a 10 point action plan.

This will help ensure that closures take place only when they are absolutely necessary and for the minimum amount of time. This will help keep traffic moving, supporting economic growth for the future prosperity of the country.

It follows a joint review of investigation and closure procedures for motorway incidents – led by the Department for Transport, working in partnership with the Home Office, HA and Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) - published today on the DfT website.

Mike Penning said:

There is nothing more frustrating than being stuck in a traffic jam for hours on end. But even worse than that is the shocking £1 billion cost of those lost hours for our economy. That is why we are determined to improve clear-up times following accidents so we can get our motorways re-opened as quickly as possible.

"Last year there were more than 18,000 full or partial motorway closures lasting a total of more than 20,000 hours. I recognise that, where serious incidents have occurred, closures on the motorway may be needed to ensure the safety of those at the scene and the travelling public. I also understand the importance of ensuring a safe and effective investigation.

"However, I believe much more can be done to ensure incidents are managed effectively, efficiently and consistently.

"I am also pleased to announce DfT funding of around £3million for laser scanning technology that can be used by the police for surveying incident scenes. Recent trials by the police and HA have demonstrated that this can make a real difference in speeding up the investigation process.”

Chief Constable Phil Gormley (ACPO lead for Roads Policing) said:

"This review has highlighted a number of innovative ways in which such closures can be minimised. The national summit will enable that process to begin, streamlining the response to such disruption.

“We will continue to work closely with Government and all those involved to ensure that the right balance is struck between conducting a thorough and comprehensive investigation whilst enabling our critical motorway infrastructure to return to normal as soon as possible.”


Source: DFT

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