Today, I am reproducing a story that appeared in the online version of the UK newspaper, The Daily Telegraph. It was written by David Millward, the paper's transport editor, and posted online, on the 26th of January, 2012.
Entitled, "Utility companies face "lane rental" scheme", it really ought to be required reading for Ghana's minister for roads and transport - and the technocrats in charge of our nation's roads: at both the national and local government levels.
Perhaps if similar measures are implemented here, it could halt the irresponsible manner in which roads and pavements, built at great cost to Ghanaian taxpayers, are being ruined with such impunity, by the utility and telecom companies that dig them up, in order to lay or repair, pipelines and cables.
The culled Daily Telegraph story by David Millward follows below. Please read on:
"Utility companies could be charged up to £2,500 a day to dig the roads up in an attempt to cut delays faced by motorists.
Utility companies face "lane rental" scheme
By David Millward, Transport Editor
4:33PM GMT 26 Jan 2012
They will be expected to "rent" stretches of road where they intend to work in a scheme intended to encourage companies to complete projects as fast as possible.
This is the Government's latest attempt to tackle a problem which has frustrated millions of motorists for decades and is seen as one of the biggest causes of urban gridlock.
According to the latest official figures, the delays caused by roadworks is costing the country £4 billion a year.
The Department for Transport plans to run three pilots of what it calls a lane rental scheme later in the year. One will be in a big city and the other two in smaller towns.
Eventually they could be implemented by local authorities across the country.
Currently utility companies such as those laying internet or electricity cable or installing new pipes for gas and water are legally obliged to give councils notice of any schemes and can be fined if the works overrun.
In some parts of the country, including London and Kent, councils have stronger powers through a permit scheme.
This gives them powers to dictate when works will take place, impose penalties for running late and also set strict rules governing noise and disruption.
The lane rental scheme, however, goes a step further, providing an incentive for utility companies to complete work as fast as possible while causing as little inconvenience to motorists as possible.
Charges would be highest for digging up the road during the height of the rush hour, with a maximum daily rental of £2,500 a day.
In non-residential areas utility companies would be encouraged to carry out work at night to minimise delays faced by drivers.
"It is incredibly frustrating to find vital roads being dug up in the middle of the rush hour or, even worse, traffic lanes closed when no one is even carrying out any work,” said Norman Baker, the local transport minister.
The initiative was welcomed by the AA. “Motorists have for too long stuck in traffic jams because of utility companies working at their convenience and not the road users.
“Bringing discipline into play, especially backed by financial penalties, may bring a measure of order to our roads.”
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