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Kier Highways is to trial a new airbag in the Midlands that protects workers and warns drivers that work is underway.
The large, bright airbags can be inflated in under 10
Kier will initially use the barrier on a slip road at the
A45/A46 Stivichall interchange in Coventry during roadworks later this month.
Vehicles are often driven into work sites on slip roads as drivers try to exit
the motorway or A-road but the Highways Agency said it hoped the inflatable
barrier would act a deterrent.
In the initial trial it will be installed as part of a
weekend junction and slip road closure, but it is anticipated that the airbag
will be tested within various types of temporary traffic management scenarios
over the coming months.
The £95,700 cost of the airbags trial was met through the
Designated Funds programme. Highways England had a £150m ring-fenced
fund allocated to support innovation as support of the Road Investment Strategy
Kier Highways senior project manager, Mark Sheppard, said: “The
Vehicle Incursion Airbag project will give us a great opportunity to trial
something a little bit different, to supplement the standard approach to road
worker protection measures.
“Traffic management incursions are all too common, so the
chance to take a different tack to help influence the decisions made by some
road users is worth exploring.
“Hopefully, it will help towards making the network a safer
place for drivers and our workforce.”
Highways England’s Midlands Innovation Manager, Lisa Maric,
said: “On average, our road workers report nearly 300 incidents of vehicle
incursions and abuse every week. It is a far too frequent hazard for our
workforce going about their daily job – and the consequences could be fatal.
“We are committed to keeping our workforce safe and doing
all we can to ensure no-one is harmed when travelling or working on our
network. We are also committed to investing in new innovations to help improve
safety for road workers and users.”
“We hope these airbags will go some way to protecting our
workers but also help change drivers’ behaviours. We ask drivers to respect our
road workers, to slow down near works and obey speed limits and signs.”