The organisation responsible for maintaining England’s motorways and major A-roads has promised to lift more than 400 miles of roadworks over the Easter weekend.
Highways England, which is a government-run company, says some 459 miles of ongoing roadworks will be removed between 6am on Thursday, April 18 and 12.01am on Tuesday, April 23. According to the organisation, this will mean 99 percent of England’s arterial road network will be roadworks-free over the bank holiday weekend.
The company’s traffic officers, however, will remain on station throughout the Easter period. Marked out by the black-and-yellow ‘battenburg’ markings on their vehicles, the officers are there to help motorists who become stranded or are involved in an accident.
However, Highways England has asked motorists to carry out a range of basic vehicle checks to help prevent some of the breakdowns that could clog the system during the bank holiday weekend. Motorists are being asked to check they have enough fuel, as well as checking tyre pressures and condition. Engine oil, washer fluid and light checks are also being advised to help avoid unnecessary breakdowns.
In addition, Highways England has asked those towing caravans or trailers to ensure they have the correct licences and equipment, as well as making sure the trailer is properly connected and insured.
And with safety in mind, the company says drivers should swot up on their knowledge of the smart motorway signage that is designed to improve the network’s capacity by using the hard shoulder as a driving lane. If there is an incident, though, the overhead gantries will display a red ‘X’ in any lane that is closed. Driving in such a lane is dangerous and illegal, with penalties of up to £100 and three points on the driver’s licence.
Highways England’s customer service director Melanie Clarke said the organisation was doing all it could to ensure the roads ran as smoothly as possible, but the public could help the firm keep congestion to a minimum.
“We’re doing everything we can to make journeys as smooth as possible this Easter and that’s why we’re keeping around 99 per cent of the road network we manage free from roadworks,” she said. “Safety is our top priority and we know from experience that almost half of breakdowns can easily be avoided if motorists carry out simple vehicle checks before setting off over this period.”