Highways England, Balfour Beatty, and Colas working in collaboration with WJ and their supply chain have enhanced the visibility of Emergency Refuge Areas (ERA) by highlighting the whole area with a bright orange surfacing
The days where it was possible to simply build additional highways or to widen existing carriageways to tackle congestion by increasing capacity have largely gone, therefore more innovative and environmentally balanced solutions are required.
Smart motorways relieve congestion and improve journey times by making the hard shoulder available for use at busy periods or on some schemes it is permanently converted into a traffic lane, known as All Lane Running.
Spaced emergency refuge areas (ERA) are provided every 1.6 miles on average and are clearly marked with blue signs featuring the orange SOS telephone symbol.
It is recognised that smart motorway driving is a relatively new concept so the ERA’s are being coated with bright orange antiskid surfacing to enhance visibility of these areas and help drivers needing to find the refuge in an emergency.
This safety upgrade, using QMS Type 1 HyperGrip™ system, has been delivered on the the 13.4mile smart motorway scheme, which covers the M3 from junction 2 to junction 4a in Hampshire and Surrey. Two emergency refuge areas were originally completed as the trial and now all ERA’s on the scheme will be afforded the same enhancement.
WJ North Operations Director Nick Holt commented “Our lead was from Colas but it’s amazing what can be achieved with good collaboration throughout the entire supply chain. Working together with Balfour Beatty, Colas, WJ South and our supply chain partners we resolved issues and ensured a safe, efficient and quality delivery, all in a very short space of time.”
It is planned now to apply this coloured system on all ERA’s throughout the scheme with other smart motorway contracts expressing interest.