Road Signs and Markings

Transport written question – answered on 12th June 2009.

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Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport

(1) what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of installing overhead line warning signs on roads for which the Highways Agency is responsible in each of the last three years; and how many such signs have been installed;

(2) how many (a) accidents and (b) other incidents involving vehicles hitting overhead lines on roads for which the Highways Agency is responsible have been reported in each of the last 10 years; and how many such incidents have involved the emergency services;

(3) on what date the decision was taken to install overhead line warning signs on roads for which the Highways Agency is responsible; who took the decision; and what cost-benefit analysis of installing overhead line warning signs was undertaken.

Photo of Chris Mole Chris Mole Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport

holding answer 9 June 2009

The estimate of cost to the public purse of installing overhead line warning signs on roads for which the Highways Agency is responsible is shown in Table 1.

Table 1
Cost estimate (£) Number of signs installed
2008-09 116,770 1,579
2007-08 31,500 960
2006-07 0 0

The number of accidents and other incidents involving vehicles hitting overhead lines on Highways Agency roads over the last 10 years is shown in Table 2.

Table 2
Number of accidents Number of other incidents Emergency services involved?
2008/09 0 2 Yes
1 near miss No
2007/08(1) 0 0 n/a
2006/07(1) 0 1 Yes
2005/06(1) 0 0 n/a
2004/05(1) 0 0 n/a
2003/04(1) 0 0 n/a
2002/03(1) 0 0 n/a
2001/02(1) 2 fatalities 1 Yes
2000/01(1) 0 0 n/a
1999/2000(1) 0 0 n/a
(1) Data not available from all regions and cited figure denotes value derived from incomplete or unavailable data

There was no decision of general policy taken to install overhead line warning signs on Highways Agency roads.

Overhead line warning signs were first installed in the north-east region in two stages. The first phase on the southern part of that area of the Highways Agency network was approved in 2005-06 and the second phase for the remainder of the north-east network in 2007-08. Approval was given by the Highways Agency's regional director.

Decisions to install overhead line warning signs are made regionally, based on technical assessment and need.

The initiative in the north-east was introduced in response to a fatal accident that occurred on a construction site on the A66 in 2002 when two construction operatives were killed, having come into contact with an overhead power cable while working on a lighting gantry.

A detailed cost benefit analysis for the installation of overhead warning signs has not been undertaken.

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Annotations

Alex Robinson
Posted on 16 Jun 2009 10:13 am (Report this annotation)

The whole issue of the Overhead Line Warning signs is little more than a vast drain on the public purse.

Asking the general public on this subject, I have come to the conclusion that these signs are simply a 'Job Creation Scheme' for Public Sector Workers. There are obviously too many idle hands in government so something had to be created to give them something to do. What better than to create a new warning sign? That will make new jobs for the many Sign Makers, the Sign Planners, the sign planters, the Sign Repairers and not least the chaps who have to go out every three weeks to keep the vegetation from growing over the signs because the tractor mounted flail mower can no longer keep the grass verge tidy.

They hinder the grass cutting operations and they are unsightly. They serve little or no purpose other than to be a source of amusement and distraction to drivers.

The most bizarre example of these signs must be where National Grid power lines pass over the A64 at the Malton by-pass, the power lines are about 150 feet above the road surface yet there are still four three foot high marker posts. Not much further is a road bridge above the A64 and above that bridge are some much smaller cables, yet they are still advertised by the marker posts on the A64. On one short stretch of the A64 between Staxton and Seamer roundabouts there are no less than 32 of these signs. One day there will be an accident caused by someone counting them or merely wondering what they are for: either way, they are a distraction to drivers.

As a detailed cost benefit analysis for the installation of overhead warning signs has not been undertaken, I would like to offer my services for such a survey.