Councils in Staffordshire could be fined up to £5,000 per day for unstaffed roadworks under new Government plans.
The country-wide initiative has been proposed by the Department of Transport in an attempt to reduce congestion on A-roads over weekends and deter councils from causing disruption as a result of roadworks with no actual work taking place.
Major routes will remain unaffected and will be able to keep the signage up until work on the roads are completed.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “These common sense measures will be a welcome relief to those trying to get from A to B on our local roads.”
A fine of £5,000 per day is already in place for any roadworks which take longer than planned.
Coach driver Andy Fudge, 46, from Blurton, welcomes the fines.
He said:”It would speed up road works I think, especially Severn Trent, gas and electricity works. They put temporary lights up, start the job on Friday then disappear until Monday.
They should be made to start works at the beginning of the week after peak time and attempt to finish them as soon as possible before evening peak driving time starts.”
Motorist Craig Harris, 25, said roadworks are a necessary evil.
He said: “I’m not a roadworks expert, and they are an annoyance when they take too long on routes, but as long as they are sensibly managed you just have to accept them.
“The council knows what the rules are, so should manage the roadworks to avoid being charged these fines.”
Grace Murren, spokeswoman for Severn Trent Water, said: “We welcome the Department for Transport’s consultation on fines for unmanned work, and we will of course review the government’s proposals in detail.
“We’re committed to reducing the amount of time we have to spend working on roads, and it’s our priority to meet our customers’ needs, while keeping costs to a minimum.”
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet support member for highways and transport Mark Deaville said: “Reducing congestion on our roads is in everyone’s interest and we make every effort to manage our highways projects effectively so they can be completed with minimum disruption.
“As we manage the road network, we do put reasonable pressure on utility firms to get work done on time and with effective traffic management.”