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Over 30 miles of motorway links across Yorkshire set for safety overhaul

Safer, concrete barriers are replacing existing old metal ones.
Safer, concrete barriers are replacing existing old metal ones.

Over 30 miles of safety barriers are set to be replaced across key commuter routes and motorways surrounding the Harrogate District.

Over the next 12 months, Highways England will replace barriers along stretches of the A180 near Grimsby and the M62 near Leeds as well as ongoing work on the A64 in York, the M621 in Leeds and the A1M north of Darlington.

Safer, concrete barriers are replacing existing old metal ones.

Safer, concrete barriers are replacing existing old metal ones.

The planned work follows the recent replacement of another 17 miles of safety barriers, with safer concrete ones in 2017/18.

The latest barrier schemes have been combined with other maintenance work such as drainage, fencing and resurfacing, in a bid to reduce disruption for drivers.

Highways England’s head of scheme delivery, David Wheatley, said: “We are always looking at how we can improve things for our customers in particularly when it comes to safety.

"That is why over the last 12 months we have installed 11 miles of new concrete barrier and replaced over 5.5 miles of steel safety fence. We plan to install a further 30 miles of safety barriers this coming year.”

Highway England state that the new concrete barriers reduce the need for repairs following incidents where vehicles strike the barrier, allowing the road to be reopened quicker and also reduce the likelihood of vehicles crossing over from one carriageway to the other.

The improvement work will mean reductions in the speed limit along the M621 to 30mph on a two-mile stretch, and a reduction to 40mph on an 11-mile stretch of the A64 between Tadcaster and York.

David added: “For the safety of drivers, barrier work often requires speed limits to be in place 24 hours a day due to the removal of the barrier.

"However, the work often takes place at night, due to the amount of equipment needed on site and to create a safe working environment.

“I understand it is frustrating to drive at reduced limits when no work is taking place but by carrying out the work in this way it allows us to complete the schemes quickly and safely while minimising the impact on journeys.”

Work on the A64 and M621 is due to be completed in the summer.

Work on the A1 (M) near Darlington to replace a wire rope central reserve with a concrete barrier along the three-mile stretch between Aycliffe and Bradbury is due to be completed in winter.

Highways England said work is also planned to replace the central reservation barrier on the M621 between Belle Isle and Stourton, and on the M180 between Thorne and Epworth.

An initial survey and design work to replace over seven miles of existing wire rope safety fence on the A1M at Durham between Bradbury and Bowburn is also planned with work due to start in 2019/20.