The full north bound stretch of our M6 13-15 smart motorway project is now running at the increased speed of 60mph. This project, which is one of three smart motorways Kier Highways has created on behalf of Highways England, took part in a trial to assess if the higher speed limit improved customer journeys. Detailed risk assessments and extensive consultation with employees, project partners and the emergency services were carried out before the trial was conducted earlier this year, according to Kier.
This project has achieved a number of milestones including, implementing one of the earliest contraflows on a smart motorway in both directions, installing two superspan gantries in under 10 hours and reducing overnight closures by approximately 30% compared to previous schemes using continuous narrow lanes.
Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) has said that road users were more compliant at the higher speed of 60mph than at 50mph, and that the speed restriction change had resulted in an estimated journey time reduction of approximately 35 seconds per road user. Feedback from regular road users also showed reduced close-following by HGVs and fewer lane changes, said Kier.