A planned upgrade of the M5, between junctions four-a and six, into a smart motorway has moved a step forward as the UK’s Highways Agency published draft regulations to introduce variable mandatory speed limits for consultation, as part of the project.

The variable speed limits will be installed as part of the proposed improvements for the M5 near Worcester, will be used to manage traffic speeds and help lower traffic congestion.

The new draft regulations are required to install the variable speed limits, and have been published for comment as part of the six-week consultation which started on 3 March and will run through 14 April.

The consultation pack has been sent for comments from key stakeholders, including local authorities, transport associations and emergency services, and is also available from the Highways Agency’s website for public comment.

"The consultation pack has been sent for comments from key stakeholders."

The M5 smart motorway scheme is in the early stages of development, and is subject to completion of the statutory processes such as environmental assessments, funding confirmations and continued value for money.

The Highways Agency started work to upgrade the central reserve barrier on the M5 between junctions four-a and six in January, in a move to support any follow-on smart motorway project along this corridor.

Smart motorways feature a variety of technology combined with new operating procedures for active controlling of traffic flow.

Image: M5 motorway, near Devon, England. Photo: courtesy of Martin Bodman.