Variable speed limits set for M4

Variable mandatory speed limits may start operating between J19 and J20 of the M4 near Bristol as early as Thursday (26 September) as part of the delivery of the managed motorway upgrade scheme, the Highways Agency has confirmed.

The agency plans to open the hard shoulder on the M4 on a trial basis only in coming weeks, before making it fully operational later in the year after the testing and commissioning phase.

Removal of the free recovery service and the subsequent introduction of variable mandatory speed limits on the M5 will follow this autumn.

Highways Agency senior project manager Paul Unwin described activation of the signs on the M4 as “a major milestone” and said road users would notice “a significant difference” in the way traffic is managed on this section of the motorway.

“This is the first time such signals will have been used in the south-west so we are urging drivers to pay attention to the overhead signs and adhere to the speed limits indicated,” he added.