London Mayor praises lane rental scheme

30/04/2013
Highways Reporters

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has praised London's lane rental scheme after roadworks disruption was cut by more than a third at traffic hotspots in the capital.

The scheme, which came into effect on the busiest parts of London's road network in June last year, is designed to encourage utility companies to avoid digging up the busiest roads at peak traffic times.

Following the introduction of the scheme, more than 92% of utility company roadworks at the traffic hotspots are now taking place outside of peak traffic hours, compared to around 30% before the scheme came into effect.

For Transport for London's (TfL's) own roadworks, this figure is now 99%.

All main utility companies have now also signed up to the use of rapid drying materials, considerably reducing the amount of time required to reopen roads and helping to save approximately 2,700 days of disruption across London.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Lane rental is all about using the limited road space within our streets as effectively as possible.

“Disruption is down, the vast majority of works are now done outside of peak hours and an impressive range of new-fangled techniques are now being used to minimise the impact on London's roads users.”

As part of TfL's work to develop a lane rental scheme, a range of techniques to cut disruption have been developed by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).

These include advanced underground mapping techniques and 'key hole surgery' to maintain utility pipes whilst avoiding the need to completely dig up the road surface, new plating and bridging systems over openings in the carriageway, temporary backfill materials for trenches and the use of rapid drying materials for quicker reinstatement of the carriageway following works.

New advances include:

Southern Gas Network (SGN) is using 'key hole surgery' Core and Vac technology, which reduces the number and size of excavations needed at work sites, at several locations. This has, for example, allowed works in Peckham road to be completed in two days when they would have otherwise have taken six.

Thames Water undertook works to repair a leaking water main on a major traffic pinch point near Finsbury Park station using rapid cure concrete, vastly cutting the number of days needed to complete the work.

An innovative new 'Pipe Puller' was used in Enfield to replace old lead residential water supply pipes. The operation only required a minor excavation at each end of the pipe to be replaced rather than traditional trench excavation along the entire length of the pipe run, cutting disruption.

Garrett Emmerson, chief operating officer for surface transport at TfL, said: “Our continuing work with the utility industry has already seen disruption caused by roadworks fall dramatically in recent years.

“By adopting more innovation and leading technologies, we can continue to reduce disruption and keep all road users on London's road network moving.”

By Alec Peachey
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