‘Motorists are to blame’ for roadworks misery on the M62

The Highways Agency giving an update on the M62 upgrade, Morley.Project Manager David Pilsworth
The Highways Agency giving an update on the M62 upgrade, Morley.Project Manager David Pilsworth

MOTORISTS are being urged to do their bit to prevent accidents and congestion on the M62 after it was revealed that 12 per cent of all delays in November were caused by people running out of fuel.

Bad weather, congestion and a series of closures following accidents this autumn have meant misery for commuters using the motorway between junctions 25 and 30, where a £150m ‘managed motorway’ scheme is being put in place.

Following complaints from members of the public, the Highways Agency has released a YouTube video answering the most commonly-asked questions and project manager David Pilsworth has added his own appeal for drivers to, “help us and help themselves”.

He said: “We absolutely understand the frustration at the delays that have been caused but I would like you to bear in mind when you are sitting at the back of a queue of traffic, that it isn’t always our fault. All crashes have a cause, if you are driving too fast or too close or are not paying attention and crash into the back of someone, that can be avoided – and 12 per cent of incidents in November were due to lack of fuel.

“That is two things where the public can really help themselves as well as help us, because it is such a simple thing to make sure you have enough fuel for your journey.”

He said a further 53 per cent of the 300 incidents in November were caused by mechanical failures and while cars do break down, he urged motorists to ensure their cars were serviced and roadworthy.

Mr Pilsworth did offer a light at the end of the tunnel for motorists, saying that while the two-year scheme was at its half-way point, people should start to feel the benefits by May as sections are finished and brought on line.

When completed in October 2013, the whole stretch of the M62 between Brighouse and Rothwell will be a managed motorway with the hard shoulder brought into use as an extra lane and variable speed limits to smooth traffic flows and prevent stop-start traffic which can lead to so many accidents.

Mr Pilsworth said: “May is when we will start to see the real benefits in terms of reducing congestion, building capacity and making it a lot safer as well.”

He added that while the road works have been continuing, that stretch of the M62 has had the lowest number of accidents involving injuries for a five-year period and that when complete the scheme would lead to a safer and less congested road.

“We’ll all see much more improvement when we get the system into operation. The M42 scheme – a pilot scheme introduced near Birmingham in 2006 – brought huge safety benefits with a 50 per cent reduction in accidents. If we can bring that to the M62 it will be fantastic,” said Mr Pilsworth.

The Highways Agency had produced a YouTube film in response to comments from the public, addressing the most commonly asked questions about the scheme.

To see the Highways Agency’s film on the M62 project, visit www.youtube.com

* For more on this story see Wednesday’s Observer & Advertiser