60 IS THE NEW 50 – MPH THAT IS!
AFTER EXTENSIVE STUDIES, HIGHWAYS ENGLAND PLAN TO CHANGE THE SPEED LIMIT TO 60MPH RATHER THAN 50MPH THROUGH MOTORWAY ROADWORKS
Well nice to have a bit of good news from the powers that be! We've all had our journeys extended by a crawling narrow lane of roadwork traffic going at 50mph for what seems interminable miles, quite often with no one in sight actually doing the roadworks. When you're heading out on the motorways, it feels as though you hit roadworks every few miles, but the fact that there are a lot of roads which are currently being worked on is not surprising because there are so many vehicles on our modern roads and they are exposed to continuous wear and tear. This fact, coupled with the roll out of the new smart motorways, means that our existing roads need endless repairing, tweaking and altering to conform to new standards and prepare them for the brave new smart world of riding and driving which we are heading into.
Starting in 2016, Highways England began to investigate the possibility of bringing in a faster roadworks speed limit where it was possible, with safety being maintained. So the trials started with the testing of both 55 and 60 mph speed limits and the results were positive, showing that safety wasn't compromised where the faster speed was allowed. Also riders and drivers experience was better and they preferred driving at 60mph. After the success of this 2016 trial, the experiment was continued in 2019 and more areas of roadworks were included in the 60 mph trial. These are the traffic/roadwork scenarios in which the new speed limit was tested.
Permanent – 60mph was used on a permanent basis during the roadworks, running continuously over the 24/7 period
Contraflow – Design roadworks for 60mph using a contraflow arrangement and run at 60mph on the carriageway where main works activity is not taking place
Dynamic – Design roadworks to 60mph but only use 60mph during non-working days i.e. Sundays/Bank holidays/Christmas shutdown – so it was back down to 50 during peak traffic periods
Here's a pdf map of the trial areas if you're curious: Roadwork Trials Map
And if you want to look at the Highways England investigation in full...
So after this thorough investigation it seems that the results are positive for an increase in the speed limit through roadworks from 50 to 60mph where studies have shown that it is safe for both roadworkers and motorcyclists and drivers. In fact the study has confirmed that vehicles in the 60 mph areas through roadworks actually conform to the speed limit much better. It will be made clear on road signs where this new limit is in force so obviously riders will need to follow the legal limits for safety and there will be camera monitoring of compliance.
The new 60mph limit looks to significantly decrease journey time for everyone, without compromising safety, so generally it looks like a win win all round and will, in the main be a relief for riders hitting roadworks on their travels!
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