Speed limits through roadworks set to increase to 60mph
Vehicles travelling through some roadworks will now be able to drive at 60mph following new research.
Highways England has announced the change in policy, from 50mph to 60mph, following extensive and innovative research and trials.
The move comes in response to feedback from road users who said they were frustrated at not being able to go quicker.
Highways England has been trialling the higher speed limit at a number of locations.
Some road projects, which trialled the 60mph during an eight or 10-week period over the last 18 months, were confident with how the increased speed limit was operating so rolled it out further within the roadworks or kept it on until the work completed.
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Findings announced today by Highways England show using 60mph within roadworks on eight road schemes resulted in drivers saving on average (across all sites) up to almost 3,780 hours journey time each day.
Although average speeds increased, more drivers stayed within the speed limit than when compared to driving at 50mph.
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Despite the changes Highways England said the safety of road users and roadworkers remained paramount and the changes would only be brought in where safe and where shown on road signs.
Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England Chief Executive, said: “All of our research shows that road users benefit from 60mph limits in roadworks. They have shorter journey times and feel safe.
“Road users understand that roadworks are necessary, but they are frustrated by them. So testing 60mph has been about challenging the norm while ensuring the safety of our people working out there and those using our roads.
“We have a huge programme of work planned, so being able to use 60mph where safe will continue to improve everybody’s experience of our roads.”
Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus said:“We know road users want speed limits in roadworks to be no lower than necessary to maintain safety – so 60mph in roadworks wherever it is safe to do it is a welcome step.”
Road users said they found 60mph appropriate and felt safe, and shared their positive experiences.
“The 60mph definitely helps,” said one road user.
“I just said I can’t believe the time we’ve made up already in our journey.”
Another said: “Overall, I would say I agree with it being put up to 60 to allow the journey time to be more efficient and to decrease the frustration of drivers.”