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Tue September 28 2021

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LED road studs make busy junction less hazardous

9 Oct 18 Smart lights in the road surface have been introduced for the first time at a busy motorway junction to help drivers stay in the right lane.

Motorists negotiating Switch Island now have lights in the road to help guide them
Motorists negotiating Switch Island now have lights in the road to help guide them

The LED road studs light up when traffic lights turn green at Merseyside’s Switch Island junction, where the M57, M58 and three A roads all meet.

Highways England has had 175 of the airport-runway-style LED road studs installed to help mark out lanes for motorists and promote road safety.

Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald’s £3m Switch Island improvement scheme includes changes to the road layout and lane markings, new barriers between carriageways, coloured high friction surfaces, better signs and a new 400-metre shared cycle path.

Highways England has previously installed LED studs at Hindhead Tunnel in Surrey to guide drivers through the tunnel but the Switch Island scheme is the first time they have been linked to traffic lights at a motorway junction. Cables under the road surface connect the studs to traffic lights through a nearby controller unit, allowing them to be automatically switched on when traffic lights change to green.

The studs are visible up to 900 metres away.

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Highways England project manager Phil Tyrrell said: “We’re carrying out a major project to improve journeys and safety at Switch Island and are pleased we’ve now reached the stage where our new smart road lights can be switched on.

“We’ve found that some drivers can start drifting between lanes when they travel through the junction and the new LED road studs are a great way of guiding drivers and helping them stay in the correct lane, avoiding the risk of a collision.

 “We’re keen to use new ideas to improve safety at Highways England and the new smart studs will benefit the tens of thousands of drivers who travel through Switch Island every day.”

The smart road studs which have been installed at Switch Island were designed by Oxfordshire-based Clearview Intelligence, whose director Andy Salotti said: “This is the first time a project involving dynamic delineation has ever been introduced at a major motorway junction on the strategic road network in England. The LED road studs which illuminate in synchronisation with the green traffic signals will provide drivers with clear and enhanced lane guidance through the complex junction. This solution will reduce the potential of drivers drifting out of their lane, therefore reducing the number of incidents at a key interchange and the subsequent congestion and increased driver frustration which is caused by such road traffic collisions.”

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