Fresh call for action over 'unsafe' motorway roadworks
An MP has suggested painting motorway safety barriers a bright colour to improve safety through a much-maligned area of roadworks.
Over the past two months, there have been at least ten crashes in the speed-restricted roadworks zone between junctions 6 and 4a of the M5.
Since the work began in January 2016, road users have faced miserable driving conditions – with many getting stuck in long tailbacks caused by crashes in the area, which is being upgraded into a ‘smart motorway’.
Last November, Highways England said it was investigating an increase in ‘minor shunt and damage-only’ crashes, and suggested that drivers exceeding speed limits, making late lane changes and tailgating other vehicles may be causing the problems.
Now Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, has renewed calls to improve safety in the roadworks – which are scheduled to finish in Spring this year.
“I raised my concerns directly with Highways England but to date we have seen no action,” said Mrs Baldwin.
“Their own statistics show that there have been appreciably more accidents which cause major inconvenience to local commuters.
“Just one simple measure is to paint the barriers at the junctions a bright colour and improve road markings to make it safer for people to get on the motorway.
“All the evidence shows that this stretch of road is not safe and I have called on the organisation to act immediately before there is a major incident.
“It is clear from the weight of letters in my postbag and the frustration shared by the public in the media that they have had enough.
“It is time for Highways England to take some obvious, high-profile steps to increase safety and ease the concerns of local drivers.”
Janice Allen, project manager at Highways England, said: “We’re working hard to complete the scheme as quickly as possible and we’d like to thank motorists for their patience while the work continues.
“Safety is always our number one priority both for drivers and our workers and we actively monitor the works using 24/7 CCTV to ensure that all incidents are dealt with as quickly as possible.
“We know that driving through roadworks can be frustrating and we ask drivers to be more vigilant and observe the speed limits and markings at all times to ensure their own safety and also for the safety of those working on-site.”