Higher road works charges from July 1 to reduce traffic disruptions

Road works being carried out along Upper Thomson Road.
Road works being carried out along Upper Thomson Road.PHOTO: ST FILE

Roadworks for cabling and utility services, which have become more frequent over the years, have often meant delays and annoyance for motorists.

But from July 1, these projects will have to be scheduled more efficiently - or there will be more to pay.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is revising its fees for road work applications from a flat rate of $165 to include a time- and distance-based charge. The price also goes up during peak periods.

With the new formula, a five-hour closure for a 5m lane of road will cost more than $300 if the work begins at noon. After midnight, the fee will be more than $150.

The current flat fee charged to telcos and utility service providers that need to dig on public roads does not take into account the length of road lanes closed or how long the works take.

This has led to applicants applying for a "longer time window than needed", an LTA spokesman told The Straits Times, adding that it resulted in "unnecessary disruption and inconvenience to road users".

The authority explained that it has seen an "increasing trend" in the number of permits issued annually - from an average of 725 a month in 2010 to 1,000 last year.

Around three-quarters of these involve constructing and repairing utility lines, and take an average of around two weeks to finish.

The new fee structure states that for every peak hour, the base amount is $60, with an additional 30 cents for each metre of road lane closed. The charges are half for off-peak hours, when the LTA said road works should "preferably" be conducted, where possible.

The length of lane closure will be restricted to not more than 300m. Each permit can also stretch for only three weeks.

If the works cannot be finished within that time, an extension is needed. This costs an extra $165 in addition to the daily charges. These charges apply to both private and public agencies.

Road works are also generally not permitted between 6am and 9.30am, and between 5pm and 8pm, from Mondays to Saturdays.

M1 said the hike will mean higher business costs, but insisted that it does not plan to pass this on to customers. Instead, it "will look at ways to minimise such costs".

StarHub said that it is reviewing the effect of LTA's new charges.

"We strive to ensure such essential works are carried out efficiently, and after hours where possible, to minimise impact to the public," the telco added.

PUB, the national water agency, said it works closely with the LTA for any lane closures or diversion needed for its pipe-laying and drainage projects. "We will continue to take appropriate measures to minimise the impact on traffic," it said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2017, with the headline 'Higher road works charges from July 1 to reduce traffic disruptions'. Print Edition | Subscribe