Motorway roadworks speed limit to be raised

Updated: 

hard shoulder open on the M42

Speed limits through motorway roadworks could be raised from 50mph to 60mph after Highways England found that people felt safer going faster.

SEE ALSO: UK speed limit could be raised to 80mph

SEE ALSO: Motorways may be covered by 'tunnels' to cut pollution

The government-owned company had been testing different speeds since September 2016 and found that drivers' heart rates were lower when driving at faster speeds of 55mph and 60pmh through roadworks.

The new speed limits could come into effect in some parts of the country this year.

Jim O'Sullivan, the chief executive of Highways England, told the Times that the 60mph limit was "something that we want to introduce to as many roadworks as possible".

He added: "The volume of roadworks that the network and our users can cope with is probably reaching its peak. If we're going to have this volume of roadworks, we need to have some serious thought about how we improve the customer experience."

But unions have warned that it would put motorway workers at risk.

Trade union Unite, which represents road workers in Britain, said they "work in already very dangerous conditions".

A spokesman told the BBC: "Sadly, in recent years there have been several deaths of motorway workers and these changes will make their work even more dangerous.

"Already motorists frequently drive into coned-off areas. At increased speeds, it will make such potentially lethal accidents even more common."

Ten of the best scenic alternatives to motorways

Ten of the best scenic alternatives to motorways