UK road news

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With the UK having been reported as having the most congested roads, there have been a variety of UK road news being reported recently. This varies from a new speed limit system for roadworks and a report on the quality of the UK’s motorway markings. Here is a brief overview of both stories.


Variable speed limit system being proposed for roadworks


The Highways Agency are currently investigating the possibility and feasibility of introducing a new system which could see variable speed limits along stretches of motorway which are undergoing roadworks. This new system would see variable speed limits introduced, this would enable the limit to be raised when nobody is working on site or at off peak times.


Currently, existing rules mean drivers must maintain a set speed restriction when travelling through a section of motorway where work is going on. This speed can sometimes be as low as 40mph. Normally average speed cameras are in place to keep drivers in check while driving through the works due to dangerous narrower lanes or work vehicles. This helps keep drivers and workers safe while the work is undertaken.


Road minister, Robert Goodwill, commented, “The Highways Agency will be considering the impact of introducing variable temporary speed limits on stretches of motorways where roadworks are taking place as part of an ongoing programme of research and possible trials. Variable speed limits in roadworks may be considered appropriate in certain circumstances but we must keep in mind the primary objective of temporary traffic management which is to maximise the safety of road workers as well as the travelling public.”


If introduced the roadwork variable speed limit would not be a blanket introduction, but instead each instance would be taken on a case by case basis.


UK motorway road markings


According to a new survey, just 16% of motorway white lines are in excellent condition. Almost half of the markings on major roads in England need immediate replacing. The study by the Road Safety Markings Association (RSMA) covered 2,500 miles of English roads.


The markings were rated on their retro-reflectivity with 150mcd (millicandelas) being the industry standard to ensure it is visible when wet. Anything below 100mcd is recognised as needing replacement, while under 80mcd warrants immediate remedial work.


The report states that 52% of markings on motorways, 42% on dual carriageways and 48% on single carriageways need replacing urgently. Just 13% of the markings on single carriageways were considered to be in excellent condition.


The worst road was the M3 between Bagshot and Camberley, with 94% of markings below 80mcd. The highest rated, with no new markings needed, was the A34 from the A44 Kidlington junction to the M40 Bichester junction in Oxfordshire where 99% of markings were deemed excellent.


RSMA National Director, George Lee, commented, “It is shameful that half of the markings on roads in England are so worn out that they need to be replaced. Despite continuing to give assurances of their commitment to road safety, those responsible for the upkeep of our roads continue to neglect the most cost-effective safety device available to road engineers, the white line. These markings have already been paid for because we, as taxpayers, are paying to have the roads maintained properly, including the markings, and this is just not happening.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson defended the figures stating that the country’s roads were amongst the safest in the world, stressing that the Highways Agency takes prompt action to remedy road markings that need improvement alongside a planned maintenance strategy. He stated, “The local road network is the responsibility of local highway authorities, and it is for those authorities to ensure that their roads are fit for purpose. The Government is providing over £3.4 billion in this Parliament and over £5.8 billion in the next for local highways maintenance.”
We’ll keep you updated on any UK road news when it arrives.

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