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Highways England is set to trial a new kind of roadwork warning on its network in the form of an inflatable barrier. This will help to protect road workers from vehicles which are accidentally driven into work sites on slip roads when motorists are trying to exit.

The airbag-style sign, which can be put up in under 10 minutes, will act as an alert of this risk, as it will be “large, bright and very visible” according to Highways England. This makes the message especially clear to drivers and therefore, should help to avoid further accidents.

Lisa Maric, Innovation Manager, said “On average, our road workers report nearly 300 incidents of vehicle incursions and abuse every week. It is a far too frequent hazard for our workforce going about their daily job – and the consequences could be fatal.”

The trial will begin later this month as part of a weekend junction and slip road closure at the A45/A46 Stivichall Interchange in Coventry.

“We hope these airbags will go some way to protecting our workers but also help change drivers’ behaviours. We ask drivers to respect our road workers, to slow down near works and obey speed limits and signs”, Maric continued.

The airbag trial has cost a total of £95,700, which was gained through the Designated Funds programme. This is a segment of a larger ring-fenced fund, as detailed in the Road Investment Strategy (2015-2020).

After the trial, it is thought that the pump-up barrier will be tested across many other types of temporary traffic management scenarios, with the goal of implementing it throughout the network, over the coming months.

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