What can be done to reduce the risks associated with vehicle incursions? As Morgan Sindall Infrastructure makes progress on the A45 Sprint Route, this article explains how lessons learned from motorway road projects can help teams working on urban networks to reduce incursions, and make sure every colleague can go home safe.
The Highways Safety Hub reports that vehicle incursions, defined as unauthorised vehicles entering a work area, are recognised as one of the highest risks to road workers safety.
As well as the potential for a fatal impact if a vehicle enters works, there is also a risk of damage to site vehicles, delayed works and further vehicles following into the area. Highways England revealed there were nearly 6,500 incidents of incursions between October 2017 and October 2020, an average of 175 a month. At Morgan Sindall Infrastructure, our people are at the heart of everything we do; we strongly believe all our colleagues should go home safe.
We are currently delivering the A45 Sprint Route for Transport for West Midlands; the first uninterrupted bus priority corridor of its kind, providing critical cross-city links to support the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Driver and pedestrian behaviour in urban areas is known to be poor, with motorists frequently ignoring closures and diversions. Our dedicated Traffic Management Team led by Mark Bailey, traffic safety and control officer, have adapted existing concepts from motorway projects to improve road user and road worker safety on a smaller,
Taking inspiration from motorway works, the A45 Sprint Route is the first urban project to create and display additional signage at entry points along the route, reminding motorists that entry points are not for members of the public. The bespoke signage displays a no entry sign while stating “Works Traffic Only” and led to an 85%
decrease in incursions in its first month of implementation.
It was also common for impatient motorists to cross the central reservation, driving down the closed route during times of traffic build up. After liaising with our customer, Birmingham City Council and National Express, the project agreed a full road closure, mitigating any safety risk from incursions during night-time operations.
During the day, cyclists and food delivery riders were recognised as a common incursion, so alternative routes were displayed around hotspot areas for cyclists to follow early on. The engagement team were also able to work together with companies such as JustEat, Uber Eats and McDonalds who liaised with delivery riders to improve road behaviour around the relevant businesses, reducing the risks to our colleagues and their own.
This contributed to a wider, proactive communication approach delivered by the A45 Sprint Route traffic management team. They have gone beyond industry. standard to prioritise MASS safety barriers along the route, instead of cones and safety line or heras fencing.
This reduces incursions by blocking access totally to all road users. In addition, it significantly reduces the risk of debris travelling into a live lane, and the possibility of projectiles towards the workforce.
The proactive and collaborative approach adopted by the traffic management and project team demonstrates best practice on urban networks. The implementation of these combined traffic management systems has significantly reduced the risks to our colleagues, customers,