Highways England spends £150m to boost safety
Two 70ft-long mobile barrier trucks, designed for military use to protect against roadside bombs, are to be used to keep road workers safe as part of Highways England’s plan to invest £150m in road user and wider safety across the UK.
Highways England said the barriers will take less time to set up compared with laying down cones and road traffic signs.
Each mobile barrier, imported from the US, weighs 16 tonnes and will be used in the West Midlands. They can be configured for use on either the left- or right-hand-side of a carriageway.
If struck from the side, the barriers will absorb the impact from a moving vehicle, while a lorry-mounted crash cushion gives further protection at the rear. The barriers, which are being operated by construction company Kier, should act as protection for workers and motorists.
Fleet innovations and improvements manager Karl Simpson said they should half the amount of time it takes to complete repair works on a live road or motorway.
Martin Bolt, who is heading up innovation projects for Highways England, said: “These projects demonstrate how emerging technologies, new materials, and ways of working can improve safety on journeys on our network. The barriers, which are being used for the first time in Europe, are an innovative way of increasing protection for road workers.”
Other Highways England investments include four new solar CCTV systems, one of which is being trialled at junction 6 on the M42 to provide surveillance and feedback on traffic flows near Birmingham Airport.
The mobile systems will be used where permanent cameras are not necessary.