Local authorities could be allowed to charge utility companies carrying out roadworks by the hour under new government proposals.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling says it could mean delays to motorists being halved.
Companies would be encouraged to avoid working on busy roads at peak times and incentivise them to collaborate when they need to dig up congested routes.
The announcement follows successful trials in London and Kent where severe congestion caused by utility works has been cut by more than half.
Currently most local authorities use permit schemes to monitor roadworks, but the new proposals to charge companies for lane rental would give them extra powers.
Mr Grayling said: 'These proposals would give councils greater powers to ensure utility companies avoid carrying out works at the busiest times and on the most popular routes.
'This would not only improve journeys and cut congestion but also save businesses from the increased costs they incur as a result of traffic on our roads.'
Leon Daniels of Transport for London, said: 'We’re delighted about these plans to extend the lane rental scheme nationally.
'It has been a resounding success in the capital, with the amount of severe disruption caused by badly-managed or poorly-timed roadworks more than halved.'
Cllr Martin Tett, the Local Government Association's Transport Spokesman, said: 'It is crucial that councils are given these powers without lengthy national approval mechanisms, so they can ensure critical roadworks are carried out as quickly as possible.
'The sooner councils are allowed to get on top of this problem the better.'