Two years ago, we increased speed limits through many of our major road projects, where safe, from 50mph to 60mph. We did this in response to feedback from road users voicing their frustration over time spent travelling through roadworks.
Now, we’re developing even more measures to keep on reducing the impact of roadworks. These include clearer messaging for drivers, more effective diversion routes and a decluttering of the roadside. We’re also looking to cut prolonged disruption from roadworks with a new plan to fast track upgrades of England’s busiest roads.
We’re exploring the benefits of closing roads altogether for short periods as an alternative to months or even years of partial closures. Often, closing roads completely means we can do our work quicker and cut overall disruption.
This approach is already being employed in a limited number of schemes. We’re constructing a new bridge over the M42 as part of the HS2 rail scheme through two full closures of the motorway during consecutive Christmas periods in 2021 and 2022 when traffic is lightest. This is an alternative to 18 months of lane closures, narrow lanes and speed restrictions along with more than 100 overnight closures.
We’re also drawing up plans to complete major improvements to the A47/A11 junction outside Norwich via one full nine-day closure and a limited number of overnight closures using innovative off-site construction methods. This would be as an alternative to almost three years of lane closures, contraflows and 30mph speed limits.
Full road closures – normally for a maximum of two weeks – will remain the exception rather than the norm for us. This is in recognition of the potential short-term impact on local communities and businesses as well as disruption to nearby roads caused by diversion routes.
However, where we can implement this new approach, it will save months, even years of inconvenience that partial closures can cause. It will also:
"Logistics operators are the lifeblood of the UK economy and to support industry effectively, need to provide efficient, timely deliveries. Reducing the overall time spent working on the network to complete a scheme, supported by an improved approach to diversions and roadside communications, should result in a better experience for both drivers and operators."Kate Jennings, Policy Director, Logistics UK