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HEAVY LOAD TRANSPORTATION SPEED LIMITS CHANGE

Increase in speed limit for abnormal loads to improve safety and reduce costs

Some abnormal loads transporting heavy machinery are to be allowed to travel faster on motorways and dual carriageways. Heavy loads weighing more than 150 tonnes are currently restricted to 12 mph. Technological advances in the vehicles and trailers involved now make it possible to revise these speed limits.

From 29 November 2010 the speed limits will be:

  • increased for articulated vehicles weighing between 150 and 250 tonnes to 25mph.
  • increased for Draw-bar Trailer vehicles weighing between 150 and 250 tonnes to 20mph.
  • maintained for Girder frame trailers at 12mph.
Changes should reduce rear end shunts 

Research carried out on behalf of the Highways Agency and industry consultation showed that the cost of congestion caused by slow moving loads was around £5.1m per year. By increasing the maximum permitted speed of certain loads this figure is expected to fall to £2.5m.

The research also showed the increased speed would have only a marginal impact on wear and tear on the roads and the police have welcomed the move as they believe it will reduce the number of accidents caused by traffic crashing into slow moving loads from the rear.

Mike Penning, Roads Minister said:

“This change is long overdue and a sensible move that is welcomed on all sides.

It is essential we move such heavy pieces of machinery around the country and although most abnormal loads are scheduled to avoid times when the roads are busy, some congestion on the roads as a result of these operations is unavoidable.

By increasing the speed we can cut both costs for businesses moving these loads and improve safety.”

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