Highways England has announced that vehicles can be driven at up to 60mph through roadworks where it is safe for road users and road workers, and where shown on road signs.
This move comes in response to feedback from road users who said they were frustrated at not being able to go quicker. Results show that, as well as saving time, more people are sticking to the higher speed limit, which means the new limit brings safety benefits.
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.”
Findings 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.
Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, welcomed the change. He 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.”