Sheffield City Council and their Streets Ahead partner Amey understand that seeing roadworks on the way in to work or any other journey can be frustrating. That tell-tale sign at the side of the road and perhaps temporary traffic lights, not to mention a queue of traffic.
They are reminding people that those measures are in place for very good reasons. Whether a road is closed during the day or overnight, Amey has a duty to ensure the safety of pedestrians and motorists alike, as well as their own employees. Due to several near miss incidents new safety measures will be trialled.
Streets Ahead has already surfaced more than 800 miles of roads in Sheffield, that’s more than 70% of the entire road network. During that time, there has been countless roadworks in place but unfortunately, there has been many close calls, where members of the public have driven at or through road closures.
It’s a criminal offence to enter a road closure and it can lead to prosecution, yet many motorists simply ignore the dangers and go straight ahead putting the lives of employees and other road users at risk.
A specific incident like this occurred on Prince of Wales Road during work undertaken towards the end of last year. There were numerous incidents of motorists ignoring road closures, determined to drive through and avoid the diversions even though the work was being carried out at night to reduce its impact. Carl, the Highways Supervisor on-site at the time has said that he “came as close to death as he has ever done” during that work, when a car drove through the closure point directly at him, missing him by less than the width of his mobile phone.
The increasing number of incidents of dangerous driving in and around roadworks has prompted Streets Ahead to look for alternative measures to deter this kind of behaviour.
Councillor Mark Jones, Cabinet Member for Environment, Streetscene and Climate Change at Sheffield City Council, said: “We expect Streets Ahead to work very hard to make sure Sheffield’s roads are to the highest possible standards across the city. This often requires significant work on some of our busiest roads. Amey’s workers are there to fix our roads, not to be run over. We have had too many near misses from drivers who do not respect the restrictions Amey have put in place. These trial measures are a necessity. I ask everyone to drive carefully and be patient around roadworks because we must protect those who are putting themselves at risk as we ask Amey to deliver us the best roads in the country.”
Darren Butt, Account Director from Streets Ahead says: “We appreciate that many people find roadworks incredibly frustrating, yet we cannot complete our work without them. We always try as hard as we can to minimise disruption, but some work will require us to close a road completely. It’s because of the increasing number of incidents that we’ve chosen to act now before we begin the next phase of our work which will include larger surfacing schemes in the city from now until December.”
Streets Ahead will be trialling several different measures this week when resurfacing work starts on Raeburn Road. These include the possible use of CCTV cameras mounted on vehicles at either end of the road closure points, new signage warning of the risk of prosecution and body worn cameras.