We’ve all been there. Driving down the motorway or an A-road on the weekend or perhaps at night and there’s roadworks taking place. But then you realise that actually, there’s nothing happening, all that’s there is empty diggers and an even emptier road ahead of you.

Lorry driving through roadworks

Even the typical daily commute to and from work isn’t exempt; dreaming of being able to put your foot down further on the accelerator and wondering why speed is restricted when the road workers are a safe distance away. For many road users there is nothing more frustrating.

So, where there are roadworks there’s a lower than average speed limit. A speed limit that forces drivers to stay at a speed of sub 50 for the sake of, well, absolutely nothing and nobody. Sound familiar?

Well, fear not drivers of England, this is all about to change as it seems common sense has prevailed!

Motorists could see variable speed limits increase where roadwork is being done; this news comes after Highways England announced plans to make it easier to drive through roadworks. The higher speed limits will only be bought into play at quieter times when there may be little to no work being done, which sounds totally fair.

It is thought that the speed limit through roadworks, which is normally 50mph and sometimes even lower, will increase to either 55 or 60mph depending on the circumstances.

Highways England gave a couple of examples of when the speed limit could be increased. These reasons included when road workers are less likely to be working, like a Sunday or at night (or Sunday nights) and also when drivers are a safer distance away from workers.

This could mean driving on a carriageway one way at 50mph when motorists are close to workers and driving 60mph the other way on a carriageway when drivers are further away from the work being done.

Chief Executive of Highways England, Joe O’Sullivan, said…

“People understand roadworks are necessary but are also frustrated by them. At the same time we have to ensure as they drive through them that they, and our road workers, are safe.

So we are always thinking of new ways to improve journeys at the same time as keeping everyone as safe as we can. That is why over the next 12 months we will test changes to the design and operation of roadworks.”

He went on to say…

“We are also working hard to give drivers more and better information about their journeys and to prepare our network for the future, for example the testing of roadside and vehicle technology, so we can continue to keep people, and the country, connected.”

But the good news keeps on coming. To help keep the workforce safe, narrow lanes are installed whilst roadwork is going on; they exist to help keep as many lanes open as possible and are also one of the instances that could see an increase in the speed limit.

A 50mph or lower speed limit is currently used in these narrow lanes; however tests will be carried out to see if it is possible for a rise in speed here. The final decision is likely to take into consideration the width of the narrow lanes and/or the type of temporary safety barriers that are in place to protect road workers.

So what do you make of these changes, good news for drivers, not so great for road workers or is this the best of both worlds? Let us know on any of our social media channels.

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