An initiative to increase temporary speed limits during work on the new M11 Junction 7A has been implemented by contractor GRAHAM to improve driver experience and reduce delays during the works.
The Highest Safe Speed directive, set out by National Highways, was introduced to safely maximise the number of roadworks standard schemes designed to the highest safe speed.
The directive advises on the use of 60mph temporary speed limits on motorways where it is possible for these to be safely introduced.
During the construction of the new M11 Junction 7A, GRAHAM’s project team say they utilised the directive by introducing a narrow lane scheme with a 60mph temporary speed limit.
The initiative was aimed at changing driver behaviour, by keeping HGVs in lane one, and reducing the number of HGVs overtaking slower moving cars, which can be dangerous when the cars are close to a barrier system on the nearside and the HGV on the offside.
The narrow lane scheme ran from early November 2020 to late November 2021.
Discussing the initiative, GRAHAM Project Manager David Slevin explained, “When an HGV overtakes a car, the car can have a barrier system on the nearside and an HGV on the offside, which can be not only intimidating for the driver but also dangerous.
“By increasing the speed limit to 60mph during our works, HGVs remained in lane one of the motorway due to their speed being restricted to 55mph, meaning fewer cars were stuck in this lane with an HGV overtaking them. The initiative also meant road users also faced fewer delays due to the smaller speed reductions during the works.
“There were a number of criteria we needed to meet to implement the narrow lane scheme, including creating 3.3-metre lanes for HGVs, 3.0-metre lanes for cars, standard set back for Vehicle Restraint Systems (VRS) with higher containment values and higher specification temporary road markings.
“There were also various other factors to be considered such as road alignment and the number of slip roads on the motorway. Since our works met all the guidelines, we were able to successfully implement the scheme and provide real benefits to road users during the works.”
Joshua Bush, National Highways Project Sponsor, added, “All our research shows that roads users benefit from 60mph limits in roadworks – they have shorter journey times and feel safer. By using the 60mph limit on this scheme we’ve been able to make great progress in delivering the project while minimising disruption by keeping drivers on the move.”
The new M11 Junction 7A is a new infrastructure project funded through National Highways and Essex County Council. The new junction and widening of Gilden Way are being delivered to create a new east-west link, which is expected to move traffic smoothly out of Harlow onto the M11, improving access, facilitating growth and creating better connectivity for the road’s users.
The junction is set to be completed and operational later this month.
(Picture – GRAHAM)