Roadworks should be limited

The length of roadworks on motorways and A-roads in England should be shortened to reduce drivers’ frustrations, ministers have urged.

Contractors are being asked to limit lane closures, with one report suggesting they should only be between two and five miles long.

Highways England, which manages the roads, is looking at the request to shorten roadworks.

The Department for Transport said ‘common sense decisions’ were needed.

Highways England senior project manager Andy Kirk said, ‘We understand that drivers get frustrated when they drive for miles and can’t see a lot of obvious construction work going on, and we recognise that there are a lot of roadworks on the M1 at the moment.’

‘So rather than keep roadworks in place, we will work behind the scenes completing various technical tasks, until we’re ready to implement the smart motorway on this section.’

‘This also means that we can start work on the next phase of the M1 smart motorway projects.’

From Monday restrictions will be lifted between junction 30 and junction 31. In October a further set of roadworks between junction 29a (Duckmanton) and junction 30 are due to be removed. The hard shoulder will remain in place until the smart motorway goes live.

Work will continue on the smart motorway between junction 29a (Duckmanton) and 28 (Mansfield), with narrow lanes and a temporary 50mph speed limit in place, until the whole scheme is complete in December. The smart motorway will then operate between junctions 28 and 31.

Work will continue on a second smart motorway project, between junction 32 (Rotherham) and junction 35a (Stocksbridge). That is being done in sections and next month work will get underway between junctions 32 (Rotherham) and junction 34 (Sheffield).

The smart motorway schemes are part of £15 billion investment in motorways and major A roads by 2021.

On smart motorways, overhead electronic message signs will give drivers information about any congestion, lane closures and incidents ahead. Until the smart motorway is fully operational, any variable speed limits displayed will be advisory (will not appear in a red ring).