Highways England has announced that in order to improve roadworks information for lorry drivers, electronic signs have gone multilingual.
Highways England has started giving roadworks information in nine foreign languages on several of its portable electronic variable messages signs.
The system works with an automatic number plate reader in the side of the road warning the electronic sign that a foreign lorry is approaching and the sign then selecting an appropriate foreign language message such as ‘M6 J.44 Cerrado’ – ‘closed’ in Spanish.
The pilot is taking place in Cumbria where £7 million of improvements are taking place along the M6 north of Carlisle. The latest phase of the work is focused on the roundabout at busy junction 44 of the motorway and lorry drivers are being warned in German, French, Polish, Romanian, Dutch, Spanish, Lithuanian, Slovak and Hungarian when the roundabout is closed for the overnight work.
Highways England says that they believe this to be the first time in the UK that electronic signs have been used in this way to get information to continental truckers.
Highways England senior project manager Steve Mason said, ‘We’re listening and learning organisation and we’re determined to improve the way customers get roadworks information.’
‘We carried out major improvements along the A66 near Penrith last year and while the communications and diversion routes worked well, we had some feedback from Cumbria Police that foreign lorry drivers were missing some of the messaging.’
‘This not only inconvenienced the drivers but also local communities as we has lorries on inappropriate diversion routes.’
‘We’ve taken that learning on board and hopefully providing tailored messaging for foreign lorry drivers will improve everyone’s experience of these roadworks,’ concluded Mason.
The innovative multilingual signs have been placed along the A66 and A69 to warn drivers about the overnight junction closures.
*Pictured: Inspector Steve Minnikin (left) from Cumbria Police and Highways England project manager Jobert Fermilan.