Councils and utility companies could face paying fines of up to £5,000 a day if roadworks are left unmanned at weekends.
Proposals to launch a major crackdown on the disruption caused by roadworks on local roads and the start of seven-day working are being considered by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.
Similar charges could also be levied on those who leave temporary traffic lights in place after work has been completed, again on local A-roads.
Workers on A roads, which are managed by councils, will either have to work over the weekend, so the project is finished sooner, or lift the works until they resume.
Mr McLoughlin said: “I want to deliver better journeys for drivers. Roadworks can be essential, but that doesn’t mean they should be in place any longer than is absolutely necessary. That is why I am looking at proposals to reduce queues and make drivers’ lives easier. These commonsense measures will be a welcome relief to those trying to get from A to B on our local roads.
“Over Christmas we were able to lift a massive number of roadworks on trunk roads, but this package of measures will benefit drivers all the year round.”
There is an existing penalty of £5,000 per day for roadworks that overrun.