Award winning new research has virtually eliminated the need for road workers to make some 3.7 million live carriageway crossings a year to manoeuvre warning signs on central reservations.
The study, led by transport consultancy TRL (Transport Research Laboratory), won the 2015 Prince Michael International Road Safety Award this week and could save lives.
TRL's head of road safety engineering, Dr Iain Rillie, said: 'Carriageway crossings and working in live lanes are two of the most hazardous things a road worker has to do on a high-speed road.'
TRL boosts road safety with new study
Working with Highways England (HE) and the Road Workers' Safety Forum (RoWSaF) on the Off Side Signs Removal (OSSR) project, TRL has produced results that allow the omission of all central reservation signing at short-term road works on two, three or four-lane dual carriageway roads.
The research effort used both simulations and on-road trials which showed that there would be no adverse effects on the safety of road users from signs being installed only on the nearside verge.
RoWSaF states that over 95% of short-term lane closures can now benefit from OSSR. The remainder are being carried out as part of either a monitored roll-out for wider applications or of 'temporary workarounds', pending delivery of innovative solutions that will eliminate less common types of crossings.
The result marks the achievement of a key RoWSaF current strategy target - the virtual elimination of live carriageway crossings on foot in advance of the projected December 2016 date.
The results of the study have been consolidated in a recent interim advice note from HE.
Figures for highways worker and construction and maintenance worker incidents:
Year Fatality Major Injuries
2007 0 15
2008 1 25
2009 1 35
2010 6 29
2011 0 14
2012 1 19
2013 0 18
2014 0 17