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Connect Plus reduces crossings of live carriageways to save roadworkers lives

Connect Plus, the company which maintains, operates and upgrades the M25 over a thirty year period on behalf of the Highways Agency, has played a significant role in developing a new method of managing traffic approaching roadworks with the aim of saving workers lives.

The method, which has now been approved for use on the English motorway network, will prevent millions of crossings being made by roadworkers across busy live carriageways in front of traffic travelling at fast speeds

Road maintenance is one of the riskiest employment sectors to work in with 13 road workers killed while carrying out their duties on motorways and major A roads in England over the past ten years.

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Trials carried out by Connect Plus, with the support of RoWSaF (an industry body which develops ways to improve the health, safety and welfare of our road workers), the Highways Agency and the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), have shown that improved overhead electronic signage and nearside signage removes the need for temporary central reservation signage as a way of encouraging motorists to slow down on the approach to roadworks.

The method was piloted and implemented on over 1000 kilometres of the network over a two year period by our principal services joint venture, Connect Plus Services, (a partnership between Balfour Beatty, Atkins and Egis Roads SA), with support from Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald, and has already saved over a million roadworker crossings.

  • Men at work

The removal of the need to place central carriageway signage across live carriageways applies to carriageways of over three lanes and will be a major contributor to the Highways Agency’s target of eliminating all live carriageway crossings by roadworkers by December this year.

Tim Jones, Chief Executive at Connect Plus, said: “This achievement addresses one of our key safety themes and is a powerful message that the Highways Agency and Connect Plus are totally committed to Zero Harm, and we will continue to work tirelessly to protect our staff and suppliers as they deliver and service the travelling public.”

Brian Johns, Managing Director at Connect Plus Services, said: “The safety of our road workers is our highest priority and I am very pleased that we have been able to remove the majority of road worker crossings to place signage helping to ensure our people can return home safely at the end of every shift. We are very grateful to the Highways Agency, TRL, our suppliers Chevron and Martins and the Roadworker Safety Forum for their support and we are delighted that our road workers are already working in a safer environment.”

Paul Mitchell, Highways Agency Head of Health & Safety and Chair of the RoWSaF working group, said;

“The road working profession has for far too long been one of the highest risk types of employment with thirteen lives lost in the past decade. The reduction of live carriageway crossings is a key part of removing that risk and we are delighted that through collaboration with Connect Plus we have been able to find a way of doing so without impacting on the safety of motorists who need to be alert to approaching roadworks.”