Anyone From Highways Agency On Here?

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MB Enthusiast
Dec 28, 2007
Volvo V90 D5 AWD


Clear road, bright sunny Sunday morning...

So why would there be mile after mile of "managed" motorway 60mph gantry signs :dk::devil:.

If you tell me it's something sensible, perhaps sign testing or the like, then ok, but if not, then why - it's very frustrating :mad:.

Rant over...
I've asked this many times, never heard a sensible reason for it yet.

M40 in the early hours, one gantry lit up with a 50 then the next reading national speed limit. Why????
I've just started a new job there John and I've put a marker on your car so as you enter the motorway the signs come on.

I actually set them to 40mph so I'll have to see what's gone wrong.
Often wandered about that myself.... also about 'Fog' signs when there's no fog... my only possible explanation is that there was some hazard earlier (broken down vehicle, congestion, fog, etc) and that the information regarding the clearing of said hazard has not yet filtered through to the sign operators.
My favourite is on the M6 when there's a 'incident, slow down' warning at 40-50mph

... The same incident you already drove past six minutes ago and it's still on ten miles down the road :wallbash:
I used to man the police motorway control occasionally and the signs were activated by an operator. What should happen is that when there is a handover, say from nights to early shifts, all current signage is handed over to be monitored and deactivated.

What I don't know is to what extent the signs are automated these days and that could be pertinent because, for example, if a car stops at specific location on the M25, the fog warning signs are activated for that section.

Therefor, it could be a fault, someone forgetting to clear the signs, testing.....not much help and the only way you will know is by asking them.
M42 never ceases to amaze me John.

Like you I have been on it on a very quiet day and speeds have been down to 40.

I think they are just pre-programmed for the time of day - rush hour.

However, during school holidays when the road is much quieter the speed limits are the same
I've been a fan of the M42 variable speed limits and hard shoulder use as I used to appreciate the fact that I could keep moving even if at lower speeds, it must be better for the environment as well I guess.

Seems pointless at off-peak hours though, I wonder how often they review their processes?
We use the motorways a lot at 'off peak' times (e.g. 6AM Saturdays and Sundays) and totally spurious warnings/restrictions when the road is completely clear in all directions are very common. Obviously it's a bit more of an issue on managed motorways where they're linked to the speed cameras!
I don't work for Highways England but I do work for a consultancy that designs managed motorways, often the signs are linked sensors in the roads etc. so if they detect slow moving traffic for example they are supposed to come on automatically to provide queue protection... that's the plan anyway! Sometimes the loops fail or give false readings etc. which will then set the signs off. On Managed Motorways they should also detect broken down vehicles, so if someone stops for a short time for whatever reason the signs will come on but then moves on an operator needs to clear the signs and they might have not got round to it yet. Like has been mentioned sometimes the signs are set to come on at certain times regardless of traffic as sometimes this is the only way that they can get around air quality issues etc.

Not ideal.... but don't shoot the messenger :)

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