Kent County Council is the latest local authority to introduce lane rental charges for utility contractors who disrupt traffic.
Companies will be charged up to £2,000 per day for digging up the busiest roads on the network at peak times under the new Kent Lane Rental Scheme which starts in May.
Kent is the first county council in the country to run the scheme which aims to push utility contractors to work on the roads during the night and at off-peak times or to use techniques such as tunnelling more often to avoid closing the road altogether.
The scheme covers over 465 roads in Kent in the areas most susceptible to major roadwork disruption. Revenue generated from the scheme will be invested in further work to cut congestion in Kent.
Norman Baker, Transport Minister, said: “Everyone who uses the roads knows how frustrating it is to find major routes being dug up in the middle of the rush hour.
“It is inconvenient and can be expensive, which is why we have taken action to ensure essential road works cause minimum disruptions on Kent’s most traffic sensitive streets.
“Kent’s lane rental scheme puts road users and businesses at the heart of the county, encouraging utility companies and local authorities to complete their work as quickly as possible.”
Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste, Bryan Sweetland, said: “We are committed to keeping all of our roads, especially the busiest routes, moving in Kent.
“This proves really difficult when companies decide to carry out their road works on our most heavily used roads at the most inconvenient times for drivers.
“The Kent Lane Rental Scheme will mean that companies will have to think intelligently about the scale and duration of works on our key routes, or incur a substantial charge for the disruption that they cause to Kent’s motorists.”