Letter - We’re not trying to catch you out with M62 speed limits

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I’m writing to raise an issue with the new variable speed limits on the new stretch of the M62.

I have never written a letter such as this in my life, but this infuriates me so much, I feel someone needs to expose this problem, and someone should be taken to task about it.

On two separate occasions now, I have been travelling down the M62 whilst a 60mph restriction was in force. Then suddenly on one gantry, the limit was dropped dramatically, then immediately after returned to its original speed or higher. On both occasions, there was no cause to do so (ie there was no traffic) and on both occasions the reduced speed gantry, just so happened to be one with a camera on it!

This is not a “sour grapes” complaint, that is to say, on neither occasions was I caught out by these cameras. But I’m sure a lot of innocent people were.

I am all for speed cameras. I think they keep traffic at a safe and legal speed, and calm traffic down and generally speaking, work for safety.

But this practice of deliberately attempting to catch people out by unnecessarily dropping the speed on one gantry is not only wrong, but is down right dangerous, and it is blatantly an attempt to increase revenue from these cameras.

Julian Thompson

Saville Street

Ossett

Since we opened the new smart motorway on the M62 last year, it has been working very well in reducing congestion and improving safety, with early indications suggesting the motorway is now able to carry an extra 2,500 vehicles during rush hour compared to previously.

The smart motorway uses automated technology to monitor traffic flows over long distances and set speed limits accordingly.

If the system identifies congestion at a particular point on the network, it may set a lower speed limit a few miles before this point in order to smooth the flow of traffic and prevent ‘stop-start’ conditions.

We have been carefully monitoring the system since it came into operation, and it has been working correctly the vast majority of the time.

However, in recent weeks we have identified that some slight fine-tuning is required. This is common practice in the early months of operating a technology-based system, and this work is being carried out as quickly as possible.

By making the variable speed limits mandatory and enforceable through the speed cameras, speeds are controlled and the level of compliance by drivers is high, which in turn results in improved and safer journeys.

Enforcement of the speed limit is a matter for the police and local road safety partnership but it is not our intention to ‘catch people out’.

When the speed limit changes, there is a short recalibration period which gives drivers time to adjust their speed in a safe and controlled way.

I hope this helps to reassure your reader, and if anyone has any further questions or comments about the smart motorway, they can contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.

David Pilsworth

Highways Agency project manager