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Legal guide to UK motoring, sections for law enforcement, Driver licensing, learner and new drivers, buying and selling, speeding fines, owning a vehicle, wheel clamping, traffic information.

Road Signs


Signs for road works and temporary situations

Signs may provide information about the location of current or future road works where delays or road closures are expected. This gives drivers the opportunity to allow more time for future journeys, use alternative routes, or make other arrangements for the duration of the works

On the approach to major road works, especially on motorways and dual carriageway roads, signs may indicate the nature and duration of the works The

Signs for lane closures and contra-flow systems on motorways and dual carriageway roads

These signs show the distance over which the reduced number of lanes continue through the road works. The signs are repeated at regular intervals, usually every mile. In these examples, there are no lane restrictions such as a width limit. The vertical black line indicates that the left-hand lane is the hard shoulder. The white downward-pointing arrow indicates a contra-flow traffic lane separated by traffic cylinders . Where the contra-flow lane is separated by a physical barrier or a buffer lane (a lane closed to traffic), the white arrow is not shown

Temporary signs indicating lane priority at junctions

Where slip roads leave and join at junctions within a road works site, the permanent arrangement for lane drop, lane gain and traffic merge may be temporarily changed. Signs may be provided to show the temporary arrangements.

Signs for works traffic

Where it is necessary for works vehicles to gain entry to or exit from the works site itself, access may be directly from or to the open traffic lanes, such as a break in the line of cones. These entry and exit points are marked by red and white signs. Drivers should take care not to follow works vehicles into the site and to keep a lookout for vehicles leaving the site. These vehicles are likely to be moving more slowly than other traffic. Red and white signs may also be used to direct works traffic at road junctions.

Convoy working

At some road works, other than on motorways, it may be necessary to slow traffic to a speed of 10 mph. To ensure the safety of both road users and the workforce, traffic is taken through the works in convoy. At the start of the convoy section,traffic is controlled by either traffic signals or "STOP/GO" boards(see page 136). You must wait, where indicated, for the convoy vehicle that will escort you though the works. On single carriageway roads you must not overtake the convoy vehicle. On dual carriageway roads you may overtake the convoy vehicle, if it is safe to do so, after you have passed through the works area and signs have indicated that the speed limit has changed to a higher limit. Where traffic signals are used at the start of the convoy section, the red signal may show for a period longer than you would normally expect: do not proceed until the green light shows. Convoy working may take place at any time during the day or night.

Mobile road works and lane closures

Some road works can be carried out without the need for road closures or major traffic management schemes. The area of work is protected by a large stationary or slow-moving vehicle with a sign mounted on the back.

On single carriageway urban roads with a speed limit of 30 mph or less, the works will always be on the near side in the direction of travel. A "keep right" sign will be mounted on the back of the works vehicle or the vehicle protecting the works. There may also be a "keep left" sign on the front of the vehicle to be viewed by traffic travelling in the opposite direction. Additional static "road works ahead" signs may be placed at the side of the road and may include a distance plate such as "For 1 mile" or"Grass cutting for 1 mile". There may also be "road narrows on the left" signs. The vehicle will usually have flashing lamps on its roof. The type of work likely to be carried out includes grass cutting, weed spraying and gully emptying. On some busy roads, traffic may also be controlled by "STOP/GO"boards

On single carriageway roads with a speed limit of 40 mph or more, the "keep right"sign on the back of the works vehicle or the vehicle protecting the works includes flashing amber lamps. These lamps flash in pairs from top to bottom.

On motorways and dual carriageway roads, mobile lane closures may be introduced on either the left-hand or right-hand side of the carriageway. More than one vehicle will be used to protect the lane closure. All signs will have flashing amber lamps. A light arrow may supplement the white-on-blue"keep right" or "keep left" arrow, and flash alternately with the amber lamps at the top.

On the approach to mobile works on a motorway or dual carriageway road, vehicles with signs indicating the lanes that are closed will be on the hard shoulder or at the side of the carriageway. The type of work undertaken includes line painting, minor repairs and setting out static roadworks signs.

Mobile carriageway closures may be used to convoy traffic when it is necessary to hold traffic back while cones and signs are moved to change a temporary contra-flow system, or perhaps to remove an overhead cable. All lanes on the carriageway will be closed, but traffic will move slowly forward, over a distance of several miles, on the approach to the area where the work is being undertaken. By the time the convoy reaches this area, the works should have been completed, traffic will be allowed to increase its speed and traffic lanes will be opened. The convoy vehicles will have a large red cross and red lamps flashing in vertical pairs.

Temporary traffic control

At some road works sites on single carriageway roads where two-way traffic flow is not possible, it is necessary to alternate the direction of flow by traffic control. This is known as shuttle working. For short lengths, this may be achieved by manually-operated "STOP/GO" boards at each end. At other sites, portable traffic signals will be used. They operate in the same way as permanent traffic signals. Normally, a stop line is no t marked on the road. A sign is used instead to indicate where you must stop when the red signal shows.

Temporary signals may be used to control a road junction. In this case, the red signal is likely to stay on longer than for normal shuttle working, as traffic on each leg of the junction will pass through the road works separately. There may be a junction within a length of road subject to shuttle working that is not controlled by signals. Signs will warn drivers of this.

Miscellaneous temporary signs

Where a mandatory speed limit is imposed at a road works site, advance warning may be given, especially on motorways and high-speed dual carriageway roads. However, this sign is less likely to be used in the future: the first speed limit sign will be located at the point where the speed limit commences

The end of a temporary mandatory speed limit is indicated by the "end of road works" sign. However, the message may be reinforced by a sign indicating the permanent speed limit beyond the road works. This may be combined with the "end of road works" sign. Where the permanent limit after the works is different from that in advance of the works, a speed limit sign is always used. The national speed limit sign shown in the example is varied to the appropriate limit

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