Highways England have confirmed they will increase the basic speed at which motorists can drive through roadworks.

The move comes after extensive and innovative research and trials on roads across the country.

What will the speed limit be increased to?

Currently, the limit for roadworks is 50mph.

But now, the Highways England have said that where it is safe for road users and roadworkers, and where shown on road signs, vehicles can be driven at up to 60mph.

The change comes in response to feedback from road users who said they were frustrated at not being able to go quicker.

While the results show as well as saving time, more people are sticking to the higher speed limit, so bringing safety benefits.

What have Highways England said?

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.”

Findings announced by Highways England show using 60mph within roadworks on eight road schemes resulted in drivers saving on average (across all sites) up to almost 3,780 hours journey time each day. 

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

What have Transport Focus said?

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, welcomed the change.

He 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.”

What have road users said about the changes?

According to Highways England, road users said they found 60mph appropriate and felt safe, and shared their positive experiences.

How many trials were carried out - and how long did it last?

Some road projects, which trialled the 60mph during an eight or 10-week period 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.

On the M1 between junctions 13 to 16 in Northamptonshire, the M6 between junctions 13 to 15 in Staffordshire, and on the M4 between junctions 3 to 12 near Reading, the 60mph is still in use as work continues to upgrade the road – further benefiting thousands of people each day as they use these motorways.

The 60mph through roadworks trial looked at different ‘scenarios’ within roadworks on England’s strategic road network of motorways and major A roads, and was funded through Highways England’s ring-fenced innovation designated fund.