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The speed limit on Highways England roadworks is to increase from 50mph to 60mph following extensive trials.

The trials, carried out on eight road schemes, were launched in response to feedback from road users who said they were frustrated at not being able to go quicker.

The pilot schemes found that drivers found it easier to stick to the 60mph limit, thereby increasing safety.

They also resulted in an average saving of almost 3,780 hours journey time each day across trial areas.

The trials, launched early last year, were conducted over an eight to 10-week period over 18 months.

Highways England said the new limit was so successful that it the 60mph limit was maintained beyond the trial on some road projects until the works were completed.

Roadworks that trialled the new limit included the M1 between junctions 13 to 16 in Northamptonshire, the M6 between junctions 13 to 15 in Staffordshire, and on the M4 between junctions 3 to 12 near Reading, where the 60mph limit is still in use as work continues.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, welcomed the change. He said: “We know road users want speed limits in roadworks to be no lower than necessary to maintain safety – so 60mph in roadworks wherever it is safe to do it is a welcome step.

Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England chief executive, said: “All of our research shows that road users benefit from 60mph limits in roadworks. They have shorter journey times and feel safe.

“Road users understand that roadworks are necessary, but they are frustrated by them.

“So, testing 60mph has been about challenging the norm, while ensuring the safety of our people working out there and those using our roads.

“We have a huge programme of work planned, so being able to use 60mph where safe will continue to improve everybody’s experience of our roads."