Fines of up to £5,000 a day could be imposed on councils and utility firms if they leave roadworks unmanned at weekends, the Government has announced.
Aimed at cutting traffic congestion and disruption to motorists on A-roads, the proposal has been welcomed by the RAC.
Announcing the plans, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, says while roadworks can be essential they shouldn't be left in place for longer than is necessary.
If the Department for Transport proposal goes ahead, fines would be dished out if roadworks are left in place when nobody is working on them or if temporary traffic lights remain after a project has been completed.
It is hoped the move would result in work continuing seven days a week until projects have been completed.
Mr McLoughlin says the measures would bring "welcome relief" to frustrated motorists.
RAC chief engineer David Bizley: "Nearly a fifth of motorists surveyed for the last RAC Report on Motoring told us that better maintenance of local roads is their number one priority for council investment, so there is an acceptance by drivers that roadworks are a fact of life.
"At the same time, the sight of roadworks left unattended while sitting in a traffic jam or when driving at the weekend is a real bugbear of motorists, so these proposals to encourage works to be completed more quickly is likely to be well received.
"Crucially, the only roads set to benefit from the Minister's announcement are A-roads looked after by local authorities. While that should mean, over time, faster journeys for many drivers, the thousands of miles of works affecting B-roads and residential streets on which the majority of roadworks take place are not affected by the new policy. Motorists recognise that there is a cost to weekend working and whilst this is beneficial on A-roads, motorists are divided on whether a similar approach is justified on minor roads."
Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.