Highways England has announced that the 50mph speed limits imposed on drivers at roadworks will be raised to 60 mph on all major roads. The move comes after the transport boss admitted the country had reached the volume of roadworks it could handle without causing delays to drivers. Currently, 30 large-scale projects are ongoing on truck roads and motorways as part of a £15 billion road expansion program. According to a research published this week, there has been 1.3million traffic jams on motorways for the last one year, costing the economy more than £9billion. The changes are set to take place early next year.
Areas where the new speed limit will take effect
The 60mph limit will affect Leicestershire motorists who drive through the 7-mile stretch of the M1 between Junction 23a and Junction 25. There will also be a number of average speed cameras for those traveling from Leicester to southbound. However, motorists will still maintain the usual 50mph speed limits on the M6 due to safety reasons. When speaking to The Times, Jim O’Sullivan confirmed that Junction 16 and 19 will have an extra lane. He further said that the upgrades of the M25 had been pushed back to prevent an overload on the road network.
Since September 2016, innovative tests have been carried out to improve customer experience. In the first trial, motorists were provided with heart monitors. The test took place on the M5 between Bromsgrove and Worcester. Out of the 40 participants, most of them had a decreased heart rate when driving at 60mph. They felt safer, particularly when driving away from the encroaching lorries.
In another separate trial, 70 motorists were provided with watches, dash cameras and GPS cameras to monitor their reactions. In a 60mph trial zone, most of them recorded a decrease in their average heart rate. Further trials are set to take place in 2018. Depending on the results, higher limits could be introduced.
Critics to the new speed limit
While the RAC has welcomed the move, the trade union has a different view. The organization believes that the proposed speed limit has ignored the safety of those workers maintaining the motorways. According to their spokesman, the changes could make their work more dangerous. On top of that, there has been a divided opinion on social media.
According to the C.E.O of Highways England, the transport department has been charging utility companies £2,500 to close local roads for repair works. He further told reporters that the 60mph limit will be introduced to as many roadworks as possible. However, lower speeds will still be the same in areas with contra-flaws, or where workers are working close to the road. Out of the 30 projects, 16 are set to be delayed as a way of easing traffic congestion. More emphasis will be put on widening carriageways, adding extra lanes and upgrading junctions. The locals expect more to be done by the government.
Today, motorists face a £100 fine when they exceed the set speed limits. It’s expected that new highway cameras will be permanently set at 60mph, especially on unmanned roadworks at night. The new law will improve the flow of traffic by avoiding congestion. Many people are of the view that crisscrossing the countryside will now be a gorgeous adventure.