Faster speed limits could be introduced beside future M27 roadworks
Faster speed limits could be introduced beside future motorway roadworks on the M27 to help beat delays while routes are improved and repaired.
Current rules prevent drivers going faster than 50mph near works but these may be scrapped if a trial is successful.
Highways England is testing a 60mph limit near upgrades on the M1 near Rotherham.
Health experts have called for wider use of variable speed limits and average speed checks to cut air pollution.
There have been a number of roadworks on the M27 in recent years, most notably in 2008 when the route between Junction 11 and 12 was widened from three to four lanes.
But the route has been criticised after a series of crashes where the lanes merge together.
Transport Minister John Hayes said: ‘Motorists should not be needlessly held up as we deliver a £15 billion upgrade to motorways and major A-roads to improve journeys.
‘Safety is our absolute priority. Highways England are carrying out a trial of 60mph on the M1 to see if we can raise the speed limit in roadworks without putting people at risk.
‘I will be looking carefully at the results of this trial before we look to roll this out more widely next year, if it is a success.’
The M1 trial began in November and is taking place over a four-mile stretch of the northbound carriageway.
It is due to go on for another two weeks.
AA president Edmund King said: ‘We believe it would be safe to increase the speed limits in roadworks particularly if the continuous lengths of the roadworks are shortened to no more than 10 miles.
‘The current 50mph limit can lead to problems, particularly with HGV speed limiters set above 50mph, which often leads to dangerous tail-gating.’
But Ucatt, a union representing roadworkers, blasted the plan as a ‘deadly version of Wacky Races” that will jeopardise lives.
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