Highways England goes multilingual with roadworks signs

Jul 24 | 2019

Highways England has started giving roadworks information in nine foreign languages on several of its portable electronic variable message signs.

Multilingual warning signs are being used to help foreign lorry driversThe system works with an automatic number plate reader at the side of the road warning the electronic sign that a foreign lorry is approaching. The sign then displays an appropriate foreign language message such as ‘M6 J44 Cerrado’ – ‘closed’ in Spanish.

The pilot is taking place in Cumbria where £7 million of improvements are taking place along the M6 north of Carlisle. The latest phase of the work is focussed on the roundabout at busy junction 44 of the motorway and lorry drivers are being warned in German, French, Polish, Romanian, Dutch, Spanish, Lithuanian, Slovak and Hungarian when the roundabout is closed for the overnight work.

It is believed to be the first time in the UK that electronic signs have been used in this way to get information to continental truckers.

Highways England Senior Project Manager Steve Mason said, “We carried out major improvements along the A66 near Penrith last year and while the communications and diversion routes worked well, we had some feedback from Cumbria Police that foreign lorry drivers were missing some of the messaging. This not only inconvenienced the drivers but also local communities as we had lorries on inappropriate diversion routes.”

The innovative multilingual signs have been placed along the A66 and A69 to warn drivers about overnight junction closures.