On the road again: Roadworks initiative will bring relief to motorists

Cone rangers: Roadworks causing traffic gridlock in Doncaster. Picture: STEVE TAYLOR
Cone rangers: Roadworks causing traffic gridlock in Doncaster. Picture: STEVE TAYLOR
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MOTORISTS are hoping some of Doncaster’s worst problems with roadworks could be relieved under new powers handed to the council.

Doncaster is one of six authorities receiving the powers in Yorkshire, and the powers would cover around 30 per cent of roadworks.

The powers will mean the council can require anyone carrying out roadworks on priority routes across the borough to apply for a permit in advance.

It will also be able to set conditions on timing, co-ordination and the amount of road space to be left available to road users during the works.

Companies who break the terms of their permit or work without a permit will have to pay a fine.

Doncaster has been struck by a series of major roadworks in recent years, including the long running repairs to Balby Bridge which delayed traffic at Balby Road. Motorists complained of traffic jams in the town centre this weekend due to roadworks on the M18, which meant traffic was diverted through the centre of Doncaster.

There are currently 222 roadworks taking place across the borough, according to the council.

Andy Pownall, the vice chairman of Doncaster Taxi Drivers Association, said: “I think this has to be a good thing, and I hope they start using these powers as soon as possible.

“It sometimes seems as though the people doing the roadworks don’t care about the effect it has. Too often we see holes dug, and then just left until they come back and start work again.

“I think a lot of the jobs we see on the roads could be done at night, particularly during the summer. There is nothing worse than driving past roadworks and seeing that no-one is doing anything. Anything that speeds things up has to be better. I hope this will ease a bit of time and I think most motorists will welcome it.”

Director of Regeneration and Environment Peter Dale said: “Drivers tell us that traffic problems caused by roadworks are one of their biggest concerns. We welcome these new powers which will help us minimise disruptions for road users and keep traffic running more smoothly.”

The Doncaster scheme is the fifth permit scheme to gain approval. Kent County Council, Northamptonshire County Council, London councils and St Helens have had their schemes approved in the last two years. The main change is the introduction of conditions that can either be self-attached to permit applications or set by the authority.

Works in sensitive areas can be directed to take place at non-sensitive times as well as reducing the working durations by setting conditions for evening and weekend working.

Conditions could also be brought in to reduce traffic management while no work is taking place on site by removing cones.

Where cones are placed would have to be approved by council officials.

Officials could also order that works close to residential properties are subject to noise pollution restrictions.

Motorists in the borough welcomed the news.