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Fine firms for running late with roadworks - councillor
COMPANIES which fail to finish roadworks on time are being threatened with massive fines.
Your Worcester News can reveal that Worcestershire County Council is examining the current law to see if it can fine contractors for not finishing road projects on schedule, leaving commuters trapped in traffic.
It comes after a scheme in Pershore was delayed a staggering five months, causing misery for motorists.
Back in March, work to widen the junction of Three Springs Road with Worcester Road kicked off and was due to be completed in May.
But due to complications between the contractors, Bloor Homes and Bellway Homes, both of which are building properties nearby, it eventually ended last week.
At the moment, the council does fine utility firms for running late when digging up the highway, but as yet has not chosen to target its own contractors.
Currently, a five-month delay would cost a utility firm somewhere between £300,000 and £400,000.
Now Councillor John Smith, the cabinet member responsible for transportation and highways, is to investigate extending the fines policy.
At the moment the council follows national guidelines on fines for roadworks, and is going to consult with experts to see if it has a legally sound basis for extending it.
Coun Smith said: “We are extremely frustrated about the situation, because delays of this kind are absolutely unacceptable on the part of the contractors.
“I want to avoid any repetition so I am asking officers to re-examine the powers available to us and will keep the council informed about it.
“At the end of the day we don’t want to charge utility companies, we don’t want to charge anybody, but we do want road projects completed on time so the traffic on our roads can flow as quickly as possible.
“I will do everything I can to look into it.”
The stance has been backed by the area’s county councillor, who says people across Worcestershire are fed up with roads being dug up for long periods.
Councillor Liz Tucker, Lib Dem group leader, said: “I would urge the cabinet to explore all the options, because if the contractors overrun, there should be a penalty.”
The Worcester Road work was carried out by Conion, a contractor appointed by County Hall.