Press release

Improved safety information in £450,000 M55 signs upgrade

Drivers using the M55 in Lancashire to get better warnings about congestion, incidents and bad weather.

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A £450,000 Highways England project to give drivers using the M55 in Lancashire better warnings about congestion, incidents and bad weather has been completed in less than a week.

Five of the latest electronic variable message signs, which can display pictorial as well as text messages, have been installed along the eastern end of the motorway between junction 1 at Broughton and the interchange with junction 32 of the M6.

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Typical 'pictogram' message (on top of gantry being used on a controlled motorway section along the M25)

The new signs will allow Highways England traffic officers at the North West Regional Control Centre at Newton-le-Willows and colleagues at the National Traffic Operation Centre in Birmingham, to give clearer information – with the internationally-recognised symbols helping to warn drivers of dangers ahead including accidents, congestion, snow and ice, high winds or an increased skid risk.

Highways England project manager Phil Tyrrell said:

This is the first time drivers using the M55 will be able to benefit from these ‘pictogram’ signs which we’ve delivered as a replacement for older and now life-expired signs.

Installing them in existing locations has meant we’ve been able to complete the work pretty quickly overnight with as little disruption to drivers’ journeys as possible.

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Stand alone pictogram sign combining text and graphics

The new signs were fastened to 4 existing overhead gantries along the eastbound carriageway during 3 nights of work last week. New software has also been installed to allow the pictogram messages to be used as well as diagnose faults and allow equipment re-sets remotely - reducing maintenance visits and disruption to drivers’ journeys.

The signs will operate traditionally, using only text messaging, until the spring when a programmed national software update will take place, allowing pictograms to be used as well.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.

Published 9 December 2016