Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Motoerway safety goes high-tech at Galgate junction

State-of-the-art motorway message signs have been switched on by the Highways Agency along the M6 in Cumbria and are being installed near Lancaster this week, providing earlier warning of incidents and bad weather to drivers using the motorway.

The eight large, distinctive square overhead signs in Cumbria are the first motorway signs anywhere in the North West that display pictures and symbols as well as words.

The signs which have been installed between Kendal and Penrith (junctions 37 to 40) as well as near Carlisle (junctions 42 and 43), have also been linked to roadside weather monitors and automatically display adverse weather warnings, using internationally recognised symbols.

Four of these signs are also being installed on the M6 and M65 in Lancashire. This week, signs will be installed in each direction on the M6, between junctions 32 and 33 (Broughton to Galgate), with a third being installed on the eastbound M65 between Junctions 2 and 3.

The fourth, between Junctions 4 and 6 of the westbound M65 south east of Blackburn, is expected to be delivered in November.

Like other electronic signs across the region’s motorway network, the signs are controlled by Highways Agency Traffic Officers in the North West Regional Control Centre at Newton-le-Willows.

"Pictograms are more conspicuous to drivers at greater distances than text," explained Highways Agency project sponsor Stephen Brown, "providing earlier warning of hazards ahead and the internationally recognised symbols can be understood by non-English-speaking drivers.

"Keeping drivers informed is a top priority for the Highways Agency and providing real-time traffic information about road conditions and incidents will allow drivers to make informed choices during their journeys.

“These signs along with other roadside technology are connected to our National Traffic Control Centre which provides websites and the media, including 250 radio stations, with traffic information so drivers can also plan their journeys before setting off.”

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