Highways England says it will ease congestion and make roads safer
In early 2018, the speed limit through motorway roadworks will be increased from 50mph to 60mph in a bid to ease congestion and make roads safer.
The new higher limit will be introduced early next year by Highways England following a study which found that motorists felt more relaxed when travelling at speed.
The new measure will hopefully go someway in helping to ease congestion caused by ongoing roadworks up and down the country.
£50million has been invested by the UK Government to fund 30 large scale motorway improvement schemes, however Highways England have had to look at other ways in which they can ease congestion following the announcement that 16 road-building projects will have to be put on hold for at least two years.
According to Jim O’Sullivan, the number of roadworks is ‘reaching a peak’ and would like the higher speed limit introduced to ‘as many roadworks as possible.’
“If we’re going to have this volume of roadworks we need to have some serious thought about how we improve the customer experience,” said Mr O’Sullivan.
During tests which used specialist equipment such as heart monitors, six out of 10 motorists had a lower heart rate when travelling at 60mph.
Drivers were tracked via dashboard cameras and GPS monitors which were fitted to the car to see what their reaction was like at 55mph and 60mph – it seemed motorists were more relaxed doing 60mph because they could outpace big intimidating lorries, of which many are fitted with a speed limiter only enabling them to do 56mph.
Currently, if a motorists is caught travelling through motorway roadworks faster than the 50mph speed limit they face being fined £100.
Fines have been sent to tens of thousands of drivers caught by average-speed cameras in areas where there’s a temporary 50mph limit currently in place and one camera along the M6 in Cheshire managed to catch 1,600 drivers during one morning back in 2015.
Once Highways England carry out two trials this year, the higher speed limit will have to go through a safety review before the Christmas festivities begin.
To start with, the higher speed limit will be introduced at night on sites without workers present.
An RAC spokesman believes the new higher speed limit will be welcomed by motorists saying: “It should help to improve the flow of traffic, which often builds up well ahead of motorway roadworks.”
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