Highways England has confirmed that ministers have asked it to try to limit the physical length of construction works that take place on major roads.
The body, formed earlier this year to transform the way roadworks are delivered, said it was looking into the proposal, which could ultimately see a limit on how many concurrent kilometres contractors can work on at any one time.
Highways England is already piloting a new layout for roadworks on a number of motorways and A-roads.
NCE understands that the Department for Transport has asked the body to work out the impact and feasibility of cutting the length of active project sites.
A Highways England spokesperson said: “We want to provide a better, safer experience for road users on England’s motorways and major A roads, including throughout roadworks where major upgrades are being carried out.
“We are committed to minimising disruption from roadworks even further and are exploring managing work in different ways while ensuring good value for money for the public.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Our Road Investment Strategy will deliver the biggest upgrade to Britain’s roads in a generation and secure our transport network for the long-term.
“But as it is delivered we’ve got to respect the drivers who use our roads every day. That means taking common sense decisions to minimise frustrations wherever possible.”
Highways Agency chief executive Graham Dalton warned last year that the challenge had just begun for the firms named on the collaborative delivery framework now run by successor body Highways England.
“We can’t afford to take more and more road space; we need to be more innovative,” said Dalton last year.
“For every hour we take a lane out of operation, we need to do more work. I expect this group of firms to look afresh at how we go about our work safely and minimise disruption.”
Highways England this week insisted it was happy with the level of competition for the retendered third leg of the A14 upgrade scheme – despite only two teams bidding for the £292M deal.