Higher speed limits past motorway roadworks could be on way
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National Highways is developing a series of measures to reduce the impact of billions of pounds worth of vital work being carried out on the Strategic Road Network.
It includes an increase in the use of higher speed limits past work sites where it is safe to do so, clearer messaging for drivers, more effective diversion routes and a decluttering of the roadside.
National Highways says it will also consider an increase in the number of full closures of motorways and major A-roads to complete work on the network itself relatively quickly as an alternative to months or even years of partial closures.
In some cases, this means building more structures off-site and then lifting them onto the road.
The approach is designed to save taxpayer money and minimise the impact on local communities and drivers caused by major projects on the 4,300-mile network. It is also likely to lead to lower carbon emissions from construction equipment and minimise the risks to worker safety.
The measures come as National Highways nears the halfway point of the Government’s second Road Investment Strategy (RIS) – a five-year, £24 billion programme, which includes more than 50 major upgrades of the network.
The potential increase in full closures forms part of a package of measures designed to minimise the disruption linked to roadworks which must be carried out on the network every day to improve safety and reliability.
The details are set out in National Highways’ updated delivery plan for 2022/23 published on July 14 alongside the company’s annual report.
Laura Baker, National Highways’ customer service director for major projects, said: “Our roads are the most heavily used in the country and millions of people rely on them every day for business, leisure and visiting friends and family. It’s vital that we undertake an intensive programme of maintenance and improvements to keep them as safe and reliable as possible.
“We already aim to carry out this work in the least disruptive way possible by prioritising times when traffic levels are low, including overnight and at weekends. However, prolonged roadworks can be stressful for drivers and local communities so we’re committed to exploring other ways to further minimise the impact.”