Concrete paving association Britpave director David Jones has warned that many motorway central reservation barriers may not be fit-for-purpose if the speed limit is increased to 129km/h (80mph).
Transport secretary Philip Hammond has proposed raising the speed limit by 2013. Jones said in a statement that this should only be done if the government first ensures that motorway barriers are fully able to accommodate the safety issues that come with increased speeds.
“There is a clear need to upgrade the existing barriers on our motorways, most of which are only designed to contain a medium-sized car,” said Jones. “Many miles of barrier are now rusted, and no longer fit for purpose. Let’s hope the government sees sense and includes a barrier upgrade program as part of the … speed increase package.”
Concrete barriers can contain all vehicles up to and including coaches weighing 13t and would prevent most crossover accidents, but are currently used on just 10% of the UK motorway network, Jones said.