South West roads have seen major improvements during lockdown
Highways England has taken advantage of quieter roads to improve the network.
The busiest roads in Devon and Cornwall – the A30, A38 and M5 – have all benefited from major improvements during lockdown.
Highways England has been hitting the roads in the South West and carrying out more work during the pandemic.
With lower traffic flows, teams have gone the extra mile to complete more schemes, in particular those that have the biggest impact on drivers.
Work that has been brought forward and completed in April and May in the South West includes:
- Six resurfacing schemes on the A30, A38 and M5, totalling 30 carriageway miles.
- Replacement of six and a half miles of central reservation barrier at high priority locations along the M32, M5 and M4.
- The replacement of over 4,546 road studs and the painting of over 420 miles of road markings.
A Highways England spokesperson said: “Planned work that has continued through the lockdown has included a substantial lighting replacement scheme on the A36 at Salisbury. Around 180 lighting columns from the central reservation are being replaced with LED lighting on the side of the road instead.
“The project started at the beginning of March and has continued as planned with the added benefit that overnight work has been carried out during the day as traffic flows were very low. The work will be completed by the end of the year.
“Essential maintenance, including laying surfacing and installing new LED lighting on the M48 Severn Bridge has also continued with more work taking place than originally planned. Other work including barrier painting, drain cleaning and joint inspections will be completed by mid-July.
“To ensure workers are protected and can stick to strict Covid19 restrictions, the workforce on a number of schemes have been using waistband alarms that alert workers to anyone within 2 metres.
“The technology, where a device sets off a buzzer inside safety helmets if someone gets too close, was already being used by Highways England contractor, Barrier Service Ltd, to alert workers on site when heavy equipment and machinery was moving nearby.
“The transponders have now been adapted to alert workers to anyone close to two metres away and the social distancing alert system is being used on barrier replacement schemes on the M4, M5 and M32. It is hoped that the waistband devices will be replaced with a smaller, armband alert.
“Roadworks affect all journeys which is why it is important they are completed as quickly as possible. In line with Government guidance, we have continued to maintain the network, ensuring that life-saving medicine, equipment, supplies and healthcare staff can travel to where they are needed most.
“All our sites have strict safeguarding measures to prevent the spread of COVID19 and none of our sites are open to the public. All major construction projects are closely monitored and the situation is kept under constant review.
Highways England South West Director, Andrew Page-Dove, said: “I’m proud we’ve achieved so much during this challenging time, while ensuring our work doesn’t impact key workers’ travel and essential deliveries.
“Working closely with our contractors we have been able to carry out a substantial amount of additional work at short notice and also continue with much of our scheduled work, which means less disruption for motorists in the future.”