Roadworks Motorway Limit May Be Raised To 60mph

Fri 12th Jun 2020

A major new trial by Highways England could see an end to the frustrating 50mph speed limits around motorway roadworks, with a higher 60mph limit planned.

Trials of the different speed limits in 2018 found that there were no safety differences between 50 or 60mph, while results of trials on the M1 and M4 last year are to be published next month.

Roadworks across the UK’s motorway network have become the norm in recent years, mainly due to the roll-out of 300 smart motorways, but frustrated drivers are complaining that some sections of roadworks are seeing no action and are pointless.

A Highways England spokesperson said: “We understand people get frustrated with roadworks.

"That is why we have been carrying out these further trials to look at where we can safely increase the speed limit to 60mph in different types of roadworks and in different ways – such as 24/7, or when there is less activity on site, or on the side of the road furthest away from road workers. The findings from this work will be announced soon.”

With the controversial £300bn smart motorway scheme not due for completion until 2025, many campaigners have called for action, particularly in areas where there is no clear evidence to suggest 50mph is safer.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation said: "Few things irritate motorists more than roadworks when there’s no sign of activity, or are as frustrating as seeing that the road ahead is clear but to be stuck at 50 miles per hour.

"Motorists might well ask whether every effort has been made to get road improvement schemes accelerated to take advantage of lockdown traffic volumes, and whether schemes are being managed in a way that minimises disruption."