Motorists drive through smart motorway site

Highways England has released video footage of construction workers chasing a motorist through a closed motorway site.

The shocking CCTV pictures come as Highways England revealed that four drivers a month are entering closed sections of road in the Manchester smart motorway scheme to either overtake traffic on the motorway or avoid using diversion routes.

The footage shows a driver ignoring an overnight slip road closure at junction 11 of the M60 at Eccles, where he is seen being chased through the construction area by angry road workers.

Drivers are now being warned that they could be prosecuted if they ignore road closures, and electronic signs at the side of the motorway are also being used to display the message ‘Don’t ignore road closures. CCTV in operation.’

Earlier this year, a drunk driver received a 12-month prison sentence and was disqualified from driving for 15 months after ignoring an overnight slip road closure at junction 23 of the M60 near Ashton-under-Lyne.

Stephen Hill, Project Manager for the Manchester smart motorway scheme at Highways England, said: It’s shocking that four drivers a month are putting the lives of our workers at risk by deliberately ignoring road closures, just to try and save a few minutes on their journeys.

“The work to upgrade the M60 and M62 to a smart motorway is one of the biggest construction projects currently underway in the North West, and sometimes we need to close parts of the motorway to ensure the safety of our workers.

“We only ever close slip roads and motorway carriageways overnight when traffic levels are lower, and make sure there are clearly-signed diversion routes in place.

“We are urging drivers to follow the diversions for their own and our workers’ safety, and warning that we will pass on the details to the police of any drivers who deliberately ignore road closures.”

Over 400 people are currently working on the £208m project to create a smart motorway between junction 8 of the M60 near Sale and junction 20 of the M62 at Rochdale.

The hard shoulder is being converted to an extra lane on a five mile stretch of the M62, and variable speed limits will be introduced on new overhead electronic signs along the entire 17-mile route to tackle congestion and keep traffic moving.

A total of 95 drivers deliberately travelled into construction areas on the Manchester smart motorway scheme over the past 22 months to try and cut their journey times.

The majority of the incidents happened overnight, between 10pm and 6am, when carriageway and slip road closures are in place as traffic levels are lower

The Manchester smart motorway scheme is due to be completed in autumn 2017.

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2016/12/14/motorists-drive-through-smart-motorway-site/

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