The call comes after Police figures revealed that since January when average speed cameras were installed to enforce the temporary 40mph restriction, some 10,497 drivers have been issued with fixed penalty notices, with a top speed recorded of 94mph.
The temporary limit was put in place to protect drivers as they travel through the works area and the workforce constructing the scheme, which will ultimately lead to increased capacity and reduced congestion.
Highways Agency project manager Raymond Chitwanga said:
Safety is our top priority and the 40mph limit is there for the safety of road users as well as roadworkers on the scheme.
The reduced speed limit, which will be in place until the scheme is complete, will also cut the risk of accidents within the roadworks which can not only cost lives, but can also cause hours of delays for other road users.
We want to get drivers safely through the roadworks, and at the same time ensure our staff and contractors can work without worrying about speeding drivers careering into areas where there may be heavy plant, deep excavations and more importantly roadworkers trying to do their jobs.
We understand people’s frustration but do urge them to please be patient.
Inspector Jen Helm from Northamptonshire Police’s roads policing team said:
Driving through the roadworks on the A14 at some of the speeds we’ve seen is effectively saying to everyone around you, ‘getting to my destination three minutes faster is far more important to me than your safety’.
All drivers should know that roadworks have dangerous terrain with narrow lanes, heavy machinery and pedestrians in close proximity to heavy traffic.
Drivers are also navigating stretches of road which have been made very unfamiliar to them. That’s why roadworks like these have a higher risk of traffic collisions and why speed limits are necessary to prevent them.
Between 2009 and 2013, eight road workers died and 317 were injured while working on or near motorways and major A roads in England. In 2013 the numbers reached their lowest level with no fatalities and 30 injuries.
The A14 is an important road that connects the M1 and M6 motorways in the Midlands with the A1, the M11 and the east coast ports near Felixstowe. Because of its links with the port, it is part of the Trans-European Network. The section around Kettering suffers from congestion and poor journey times daily. By improving this section the Highways Agency aims to create smoother and more reliable journeys, contribute to the region’s economy and to allow for the increased demand in the area that will occur as a result of the Government’s Growth Agenda to develop 40,500 homes in the area.
Further information about the project is available on the scheme’s website.
Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the Highways Agency press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.