It maybe winter but drivers using the M6 through Cheshire are benefiting from a bit of sunshine - thanks to a £390,000 scheme to light up motorway lanes.
In a two month Highways Agency project completed in the autumn traditional cat’s eyes - or road studs to highways engineers – have been replaced by solar-powered ones along a section of the M6 in the county.
More than 3,300 solar-powered studs have been installed along the motorway between junctions 17 at Sandbach and 18 at Middlewich.
Traditional road studs rely on reflective strips being lit by car headlamps. But, while the new solar-powered studs are also illuminated by car headlamps, their brightness is boosted by their own internal batteries, kept topped up by sunshine and most daylight conditions.
Like the old studs different colours are used within the individual units to mark out specific lanes:
• White studs mark the lanes or the middle of the road
• Red studs mark the left edge of the road.
• Amber studs mark the central reservation of a dual carriageway or motorway
• Green studs mark the edge of the main carriageway at lay-bys and slip roads
Using the new solar-powered studs results in brighter and clearer illumination so drivers can better differentiate between lanes, slip roads and the hard shoulder when they are travelling overnight or in poor weather - especially within unlit sections of motorway. The studs also contain sensors so they come on automatically when it gets dark.
Highways Agency project sponsor Matthew Loxton said:
“The use of new, solar-powered road studs will provide greater illumination of the road lanes and further contribute to road safety in what is an unlit, rural section of the motorway network. Drivers should already have noticed the difference.”