MOTORISTS will soon be able to drive at 60mph through motorway roadworks to save on journey time.

After extensive research and trials, Highways England has confirmed that where it is safe for road users and road workers, and shown on road signs, vehicles can be driven at up to 60mph.

That is 10mph faster than the current 50mph restrictions.

Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England chief executive, said: "All of our research shows that road users benefit from 60mph limits in roadworks.

"They have shorter journey times and feel safe.

"Road users understand that roadworks are necessary, but they are frustrated by them.

"So, testing 60mph has been about challenging the norm while ensuring the safety of our people working out there and those using our roads.

"We have a huge programme of work planned, so being able to use 60mph where safe will continue to improve everybody’s experience of our roads."

Highways England recently completed scheduled roadworks as part of the Government’s first road investment programme.

Runcorn and Widnes World:

Acting on feedback about increasing the speed limit, the company initiated road trials in various scenarios, as well as risk assessments.

Findings announced today, Sunday, show that travelling 60mph within roadworks on eight road schemes resulted in drivers saving, on average, up to almost 3,780 hours of journey time each day.

Although average speeds increased, more drivers stayed within the speed limit than when compared to driving at 50mph.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: "We know road users want speed limits in roadworks to be no lower than necessary to maintain safety – so 60mph in roadworks wherever it is safe to do it is a welcome step."

Some road projects, which trialled the 60mph restriction over the last 18 months, were confident with how the increased speed limit was operating, so rolled it out further within the roadworks or kept it on until the work completed.

Sections of the M1 in Northamptonshire, M6 in Staffordshire and M4 near Reading, are still operating at 60mph while road upgrades continue.

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