Utility companies could be charged up to £2,500 per day for digging up roads at peak times, the government has revealed, as part of plans to cut congestion in major towns and cities.
Councils will be given the power to introduce lane rental schemes, following a trial of the initiative in London and Kent.
According to the government, the pilot scheme saw congestion on some of the busiest roads drop.
Department for Transport announced the proposals on Friday (16 February), following a consultation into the proposal last year.
Transport Minister Jo Johnson said: â€?Drivers often see red when roadworks cause them delays, especially if no one is working on them.
“Lane rental has seen a massive drop in disruption to drivers as utility companies have changed when and where they carry out work. Now we want millions of motorists around England to get the same benefits.â€?
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “This is a very welcome announcement. Trials showed that some of the worst congestion caused by planned utility works in London was reduced by half on roads where lane rental was in operation, so rolling this out will extend the benefits nationwide.
“While motorists accept that some roadworks and congestion are unavoidable, lengthy and unnecessary queues are incredibly frustrating. RAC research suggests congestion on our roads and journey time reliability are growing concerns for motorists so introducing lane rental should encourage better planning and coordination of roadworks, and mean utility works are completed in a swifter, more efficient manner.â€?
The Department for Transport will produce guidance in the autumn to help councils develop lane rental schemes for approval. The first schemes could start by the end of 2019.
According to DfT, around 2.5 million roadworks are carried out each year.