With work on a major road upgrade on the A23 underway, drivers are being reminded about the importance of sticking to the 40mph speed limit through the roadworks.
Average speed cameras are in place between Handcross and Warninglid to enforce the speed limit, the first time such cameras have been used in Sussex. The cameras, which are installed and operated by Sussex Safer Roads Partnership (SSRP), will help to keep the road operating safely while narrow lanes and a changing road layout are in place throughout the two year project.
The Highways Agency is widening the A23 from two lanes to three in each direction to make journeys quicker and more reliable, and improving access to Gatwick airport from the south. It will also improve safety by straightening out the road, improving visibility and removing direct unsafe turnings on to and off the A23.
Andy Reohorn, Camera Team Operational Supervisor at the SSRP, said:
“Average speed cameras offer a much more effective method of managing safe speeds along a section of road than could be achieved with either mobile or fixed speed camera enforcement. Initial indications from the A23 Average Speed Camera system show that the vast majority of motorists are complying with the 40mph speed limit, which is good news.
“However, with 65,000 vehicles using this section of the A23 every day, even 1% non-compliance means that around 650 drivers a day are putting themselves and others in danger, as well as running the risk of prosecution.”
Average Speed Cameras use Automatic Number Plate Recognition software to record a vehicle’s details as they enter and exit the protect zone. The time taken to travel through the zone can then be used to calculate the average speed for the vehicle. Processing of any offences detected by the system will take place in exactly the same way as for other types of enforcement, with Speed Awareness Courses offered where appropriate.
The system – known as SPECS3 and developed by a company called Vysionics – has been being tested and calibrated since installation at the end of June. Although no offences have been processed while the installation period has taken place, the system has been registering when vehicles exceed the 40mph speed limit.
Chris Bacon, the Highways Agency project manager in charge of the improvement project, agreed with the safety benefits of the cameras, and added that it is vitally important that motorists drive with extra care through roadworks.
Chris Bacon said:
“Road workers work in a dangerous environment, only feet away from moving traffic, and deserve respect and consideration from drivers. Driving through a mile of road works at 40mph takes less than 40 seconds longer than it does at 70mph but that difference can save lives.
“For us, the best speed camera is the one that takes no fines at all, but encourages drivers to stick to the limit. Here on the A23, they are playing a vital role in allowing us to keep two narrow lanes of traffic safely open in each direction at virtually all times, and therefore keeping any congestion during the work to an absolute minimum.”
To help motorists navigate the road works, plan their journeys and avoid potential disruptions, the Highways Agency carries detailed information on their website – www.highways.gov.uk.
Information will also be carried on the SSRP’s website (www.SussexSaferRoads.gov.uk) throughout the scheme’s duration.