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Road Signs and Markings

Volume 493: debated on Friday 12 June 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport (1) what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of installing overhead line warning signs on roads for which the Highways Agency is responsible in each of the last three years; and how many such signs have been installed; (278813)

(2) how many (a) accidents and (b) other incidents involving vehicles hitting overhead lines on roads for which the Highways Agency is responsible have been reported in each of the last 10 years; and how many such incidents have involved the emergency services;

(3) on what date the decision was taken to install overhead line warning signs on roads for which the Highways Agency is responsible; who took the decision; and what cost-benefit analysis of installing overhead line warning signs was undertaken.

[holding answer 9 June 2009]: The estimate of cost to the public purse of installing overhead line warning signs on roads for which the Highways Agency is responsible is shown in Table 1.

Table 1

Cost estimate (£)

Number of signs installed

2008-09

116,770

1,579

2007-08

31,500

960

2006-07

0

0

The number of accidents and other incidents involving vehicles hitting overhead lines on Highways Agency roads over the last 10 years is shown in Table 2.

Table 2

Number of accidents

Number of other incidents

Emergency services involved?

2008/09

0

2

Yes

1 near miss

No

2007/081

0

0

n/a

2006/071

0

1

Yes

2005/061

0

0

n/a

2004/051

0

0

n/a

2003/041

0

0

n/a

2002/031

0

0

n/a

2001/021

2 fatalities

1

Yes

2000/011

0

0

n/a

1999/20001

0

0

n/a

1 Data not available from all regions and cited figure denotes value derived from incomplete or unavailable data

There was no decision of general policy taken to install overhead line warning signs on Highways Agency roads.

Overhead line warning signs were first installed in the north-east region in two stages. The first phase on the southern part of that area of the Highways Agency network was approved in 2005-06 and the second phase for the remainder of the north-east network in 2007-08. Approval was given by the Highways Agency's regional director.

Decisions to install overhead line warning signs are made regionally, based on technical assessment and need.

The initiative in the north-east was introduced in response to a fatal accident that occurred on a construction site on the A66 in 2002 when two construction operatives were killed, having come into contact with an overhead power cable while working on a lighting gantry.

A detailed cost benefit analysis for the installation of overhead warning signs has not been undertaken.