The scheme – the third in the country – will give Northamptonshire County Council more powers to coordinate road works and take tough action when they overrun.
It will allow the council to require anyone carrying out road works to apply for a permit in advance and to set conditions on timing, coordination or the amount of road space to be left available to road users during the works.
Those companies who break the terms of their permit or work without a permit will have to pay a fine of up to £5,000.
Transport Minister Norman Baker said: “Although we all know that road works are sometimes unavoidable the disruption they cause can be a hugely frustrating for drivers, cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians as well as costing businesses time and money.
“That is why it is important that councils use the powers they have to make sure utility firms carry out works with consideration for those who use the road.
“We are determined to tackle problem road works and make sure that those who dig up the road are made accountable when disruption occurs.”
Northamptonshire is the third council to gain approval for a permit scheme. Kent County Council and London councils had their schemes approved last year.