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Motorway Repairs

Volume 35: debated on Wednesday 19 January 1983

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he is satisfied with the speed with which motorway repairs are undertaken.

In general, yes, but we are always trying to do better.

Why does so much motorway seem always to be under repair? Why does it always seem to take so much longer to effect repairs here than in other countries?

Perhaps my hon. Friend has not been in other countries as much as he has obviously been at home. I assure him that we do not take longer than other countries to effect repairs. To some extent we are the victims of our own success. We have 20-year-old or more roadways that have taken far more traffic than they were designed for. We must make the best use of our investment in motorways by maintaining them regularly and carrying out our rolling programme of improvement. We are renewing 70 miles of motorway each year. As soon as we have finished restructuring and resurfacing work, it will be easier to do that.

Is the Minister aware that it is pleasing to know that the British are pretty quick at improving motorways and getting repairs completed? Is she further aware that the Prime Minister keeps lecturing and telling us that the Germans and the Japanese are better than us at everything?

The speed of restructuring and resurfacing work depends entirely on the type of roadway being dealt with. Speed varies considerably from country to country. We do not do at all badly by international standards.

Why are miles of the M1 and M6 coned off when there appears to be no work going on?

Cones are required for several reasons, as I think my hon. Friend knows. They are used to protect concrete which is still setting. That can take some time. They are used to mark off excavated areas that must settle before more work can be carried out. They are also used so that damage to safety fences can be repaired. Sometimes weather conditions following the first stage of repairs or reconstruction do not remain suitable for the next stage to take place. Cones are not used unnecessarily on any motorway.