Highways Agency Plans To Improve Air Quality By Cutting Speed Limit
The Highways Agency is considering lowering the speed limit on the M1 to meet air quality regulations. This 60mph limit - which is the subject of a consultation document - could be enforced from Junction 28 to 35A between 7am and 7pm (everyday). It would include the carriageway, slip roads and intersections. But why? The problem is that at certain times the motorway is congested. The potential solution – and this is happening irrespective of the speed limit consultation - is to create a managed motorway that increases capacity by enabling traffic to use the hard shoulder as required. Managed motorways also have variable speed limits. So, imagine a scenario: the computer based system concludes that the volume of traffic could cause congestion. It therefore creates space by opening the hard shoulder and imposing a lower limit for vehicles approaching the congestion. This allows time for the trouble to clear. However, this approach could lead to a higher volume of motorway traffic which could increase pollutants if the national speed limit is retained. Lowering the limit should minimise any damage. The Highways Agency – which claims it might raise the limit in the future if air quality is sufficient – has asked people to express any views on lowering the limit by March 3rd 2014.
Managed Motorway Network In UK
The managed motorway network spans key locations throughout the country and is expanding rapidly. Work is in progress on the M6 Junction 10A to 13 at a cost of £87.5 million. This complements efforts on M3 Junction 2 to 4A (£134 to £183 million), the M25 Junction 23 to 27 (£188 million) and the M25 Junction 5 to 7 (£129 million). As part of these initiatives workers will create emergency refuge areas for motorists that have technical problems. These will be wider than the traditional hard shoulder so there will be more room for breakdown personnel to repair and recover vehicles. They will also incorporate telephones that have connections to regional control centres that will be placed behind safety barriers at heights suitable for disabled users. The telephones will also incorporate numerous language options for foreign drivers and a text facility for those with hearing problems. Furthermore, there will be easy to read overhead signs to confirm the current speed limit and when the hard shoulder is available as a running lane.