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Roads: Motorways

Volume 715: debated on Wednesday 16 December 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the annual maintenance costs of the elevated sections of the Midlands Links motorways; and what assessment they have made of the added costs due to traffic delays. [HL799]

The annual maintenance costs of the elevated sections of the Midland Links motorways vary depending on the maintenance schemes that have been carried out during the year. Maintenance schemes are divided into major and routine categories. The following amounts have been or are due to be spent on the maintenance of the structures of the Midland Links during the current four year period:

2006-07—£17.5 million;

2007-08—£10.5 million;

2008-09—£14.5 million; and

2009-10—£22.5 million.

During this period, the following four major maintenance schemes were carried out. The first three included elements of carriageway surface renewal work:

Ray Hall Viaduct Deck Refurbishment (2006-07);

Bromford Viaduct Deck Refurbishment (2006-07);

Bromford Viaduct Resurfacing (2008-09); and

Ray Hall Viaduct Structural repairs to concrete supports (2006-07-2007-08).

As the surfacing work extended beyond the elevated sections, it is not possible to identify separate figures for this work for these sections. All four schemes had significant effects on traffic flows on the motorway.

Other schemes included in the annual figures involved works on the support structures beneath the running lanes of the motorway and thus did not affect motorway traffic flows.

As part of the preparation process for all major schemes that have a potential effect on traffic flows on the motorway, the Highways Agency takes into account the level of predicted delays so that they can be minimised. The delay costs for the above schemes have been calculated as follows:

Ray Hall Deck Refurbishment—£2.7 million;

Bromford Viaduct Deck Refurbishment—£1.51 million;

Ray Hall Viaduct Structural Repairs—£23.4 million; and

Bromford Viaduct Resurfacing—£1.52 million.

The figure of £23.4 million for Ray Hall Viaduct is high because the repairs were to the supports carrying the M6 over the link road from the M6 southbound carriageway to the M5 southbound carriageway. The link road beneath was reduced to one lane for safety reasons, causing unavoidable delays to both M6 southbound traffic and traffic using the link road.

None of the annual figures includes routine maintenance, such as minor resurfacing, lighting and drainage, or winter maintenance—that is, salting. Such works are funded from a regional budget for all motorways and are not separated for Midland Links sections. Routine maintenance is generally carried out overnight to minimise delays to motorway traffic.