Utility firms face higher charges if they take too long to complete road works, the Transport Minister has announced.
Norman Baker said all utility companies involved in road digging need to agree a timeframe for their work with the local authority concerned.
An "overrun charge" will be made for every extra day spent on the road if there has been no overstay period negotiated with the council.
The top daily charge at the moment is £2,500, depending on the type of works and the type of street involved, but this will increase from October 1 to £5,000 per day for the first three extra days. The charge will increase again to £10,000 per day from the fourth additional day.
The charge increases will reflect the cost of the disruption when works go on too long, said Mr Baker, adding that works sometimes take far too long to finish, causing disruption and frustrating road users.
But, more positively, the rises will prompt companies to finish on time and prevent unnecessary traffic jams, he said.
Copyright Press Association 2012