Special gates are to be installed between key junctions on the motorway between Cumbria and north Lancashire to prevent long queues behind serious incidents, it has been announced.
The 16-metre emergency crossover gates can be used to allow quick access between carriageways otherwise protected by the continuous central reservation barrier. The gates will be fitted between key junctions along the M55 and M6, as well as along the Appleby by-pass on the A66.
The gates will be fitted by AmeyMouchel, the Highways Agency's main contractor in the region. They are designed to be opened to free 'trapped traffic' that gets stuck behind major incidents, but can also be used to allow emergency services and winter maintenance vehicles to turn around on to the opposite carriageway.
The Highways Agency has taken the decision at previous major incidents to cut the central barrier in order to free traffic, but this can be costly and relies on there being hard standing ground across the central reservation to prevent larger vehicles from sinking. Cumbria and north Lancashire was earmarked for the work due to the distance between junctions.
"These new gates will just give us one more weapon in our battle against congestion and driver delays," said Bob Baldwin, Highways Agency area performance manager for Cumbria and north Lancashire.
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