In Brief

Speed limits for motorway roadworks may increase on Sundays

Highways England aims to cut traffic congestion and reduce frustration for drivers

Temporary speed limits introduced for sections of motorway roadworks may be increased on Sundays in a bid to reduce congestion. 

Highways England, the Government-backed body that manages Britain’s A roads and motorways, has announced plans to raise fixed speed restrictions from 50mph to 60mph on days when there are fewer people carrying out road repairs.

Varying speed limits may also be introduced under the new plans, where drivers would be permitted to drive fast through stretches of roadworks with no worker activity, but must slow down to 50mph in sections where repairs are taking place, The Daily Telegraph says. 

Reduced speed limits are implemented for roadworks to allow workers to operate safely, but frustrated drivers have called for a higher speed limits on quieter days such as Sundays and bank holidays, the newspaper says. 

There are around 300 incidents every week of drivers “entering coned-off areas or subjecting road workers to physical or verbal abuse”, the BBC reports.

If the plans are given the green light, Highways England chief Jim O’Sullivan said the new speed limits could be introduced either at the end of the year or in early 2019.

But before that happens, the Government agency will trial the increased speed limits to evaluate the effect on drivers and worker safety.

“People understand roadworks are necessary but are also frustrated by them,” said O’Sullivan. “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 added.

In addition to the rising speed limits, Highways England is also exploring other plans to cut congestion.

According to The Times, the company has committed to clearing 85% of road accidents within an hour, as well as having workers carry out more repairs at night.

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