The huge cost and disruption caused to the supply chain by protracted motorway closures after incidents could be substantially reduced following the launch of the government’s Review of Investigation and Closure Procedures for Motorway Incidents. The Freight Transport Association (FTA) had highlighted to government, the Highways Agency and the police major its concerns about the length of time taken to clear incidents on the strategic road network.
Malcolm Bingham, FTA’s Head of Road Network Management Policy, said:
"The price paid by industry of the prolonged closure of major arterial roads is enormous and far-reaching. It costs around £50 for a heavy truck to sit in traffic for just one hour – then there are the unnecessary carbon emissions and severe disruption to the supply chain caused by congestion.
"Government recognition of this problem through its preliminary report will be warmly welcomed by an industry where reducing transport cost is king."
The report estimates the annual cost of motorway closures in England at around £1bn. As well as funding laser scanning technology for police incident analysis, the report recommends more training, performance monitoring and the use of good practice models to expedite the reduction of congestion caused by motorway incidents.
"Clearly, there is a need to properly investigate incidents – especially those causing death or serious injury – but this report highlights the variations in practices and response time that can occur across different regions of the country. In trying to better understand the clear regional variations between how motorway incidents are handled, the report will hopefully find some useful conclusions that will benefit road users across the whole road network.
"We look forward to working with the government departments and agencies to bring about improvements in incident time lines and providing reliable information to road operators so that they can make informed decisions when incidents occur."