Report 23rd March 2010

The Work of the Highways Agency

Mr. Graham Riley gave a very detailed and informative talk about the work of the Highways Agency, which looks after all motorways in England and major trunk routes like the A1 and A64.  The Agency aim to “keep us moving” and Mr.Riley is the Regional Manager for Yorkshire and the North East for Influencing Travel Behaviour.

The key challenges which he outlined were tackling congestion, improving safety (road deaths are greatly reduced from the 50s ), ensuring sustainability and supporting economic growth.  The problems multiply as traffic has risen 85% since 1980 and is still growing.  In the past new lanes on motorways have been filled as soon as they opened, so the emphasis now is on improving reliability, predicting bottlenecks and using measures such as the Bradford – Leeds car share lane to manage the flow.  200 Traffic Officers, who are not policemen, are used in the region to deal with incidents as quickly as possible.

Maintenance is done at night whenever possible but cones may remain in the daytime.  The traffic cones may infuriate Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear but it would be far more expensive and dangerous to keep moving them in and out every day.

The Agency’s mantra is safe roads, informed travellers and reliable journeys. Travellers can check via mobile phones any roadworks or incidents which may delay them on their chosen route. 

Questions from members showed that Mr. Riley’s talk had been followed very closely.  Roy Howard, who said that he does not venture beyond Harrogate in his car, spoke for all members when he praised our speaker for his absorbing presentation.

 John Taylor 


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