asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that the Great North Road between Station Road, East Barnet, and the Hertfordshire county boundary has been under repair for six months and that the road is as yet only partly surfaced; what is the reason for the prolonged delay; whether any estimate has been made of the cost of the traffic congestion caused by these works; and whether the cost of such congestion is taken into account when decisions are made about the contract time for major works on trunk roads.
This length of road is not a trunk road and I am not the highway authority. I am informed that the work is now almost completed and that the time it took was mainly due to the impracticability of diverting the heavy volume of traffic. I know of no estimate of the cost of any traffic congestion. Highway authorities do all they can in their contract arrangements and otherwise to minimise congestion and delays.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this example is, unfortunately, typical of quite a number of cases throughout the country on major roads these days? Will he give the matter his attention, with a view to cutting down delay and saving public expense?
I certainly agree that it is desirable that all efforts should be made to reduce delays from road repairs and reconstruction, but, generally speaking, highway authorities are not operating under the best conditions with regard to costs, and one has to bear that in mind.
Will the Minister try to do something further to divert some of the excessive heavy lorry traffic from this particular road, because it is the major cause of the congestion and the damage to the surface?
That would probably mean far greater expenditure on diversions such as by-passes, or something of that description.