M25: More Motorway To Be Speed Controlled

The Highways Agency has launched consultations into draft regulations to introduce variable mandatory speed limits on two already widened sections of the M25 in Hertfordshire and Essex.

The Highways Agency has today launched consultations into draft regulations to introduce variable mandatory speed limits on two widened sections of the M25 in Hertfordshire and Essex.

The Highways Agency uses variable mandatory speed limits to manage traffic flows during periods of congestion or following an incident to slow down vehicles and smooth out traffic to reduce the risk of collisions.

The widening work, which added vital extra capacity to the M25 by adding an extra lane in each direction between junctions 16 and 23, and junctions 27 and 30 was completed early summer 2012.

Introducing the variable mandatory speed limits on the motorway requires new regulations. The Highways Agency has today launched a eight-week consultation, which will finish on Tuesday 19 March 2013, into these draft regulations.

Geoff Chatfield, Highways Agency project manager told Heart: "Introducing variable mandatory speed limits will build on the benefits already experienced from widening these two sections of the motorway. They will bring further benefits to drivers by smoothing out traffic at busy times, reduce frustrating stop-start congestion and so helping to make journeys safer and more reliable.

While the consultation is mainly an opportunity for interested groups, such as local authorities, emergency services and transport associations to comment on the proposed new measures, we also welcome views from members of the public."

The two sections of motorway which will benefit from variable mandatory speed limits cover a total distance of 38 miles – 22 miles in Hertfordshire and 16 miles in Essex.

Sensors in the road surface detect the speed, volume and flow of traffic. The system then calculates the optimum speed to keep traffic moving and reduce the ‘stop-start’ traffic which leads to congestion. Drivers see the current speed limit displayed on electronic signals on the overhead gantries.

The consultation provides an opportunity for interested parties to comment on the proposed legislative changes required for the implementation of the scheme. Subject to the completion of statutory processes the variable mandatory speed limits are due to become fully operational in August 2013.

Consultation documents have been sent to a range of stakeholders and have been published on the Highways Agency’s website to give an opportunity for interested parties and individuals to comment on the plans. The consultation can be viewed HERE

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