A Surrey County Council permit scheme to ease the pain of roadworks could extend to the equivalent of halfway across Wales if Bracknell Forest signs up.
Bracknell Forest councillors are consulting on whether to join the roadworks permit scheme, launched by Surrey and East Sussex county councils last month to decide how works are done, cutting congestion and boosting the local economy.
The scheme, which is set to save Surrey businesses up to £6.5 million a year, would then be almost 75 miles wide if the Department for Transport approves Bracknell Forest’s application.
John Furey, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “We took control of approving essential roadworks to limit hassle to drivers and boost Surrey’s economy, so it’s great that other authorities are considering getting on board.”
The permit scheme means better co-ordination between utility companies so roads are dug up and closed less often. In one example, council bosses told one company to dig at the same time as another’s approved street closure in the same road.
Within a fortnight of the launch, Surrey County Council road bosses had already rejected 237 inadequate schemes, dealt with more than 2,500 applications and inspected 25 sites a day. The scheme will mean up to 2,400 fewer roadworks a year.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin approved Surrey County Council and East Sussex County Council’s joint permit scheme in July. Before this, Surrey County Council could only ask companies to find ways to limit roadworks congestion.