Why are motorways in the north of the country safer than motorways in the south?

The latest statistics show that the quantity of concrete safety barrier being installed on UK motorway central reservations is currently set to double in 2010. Estimates show that those counties which are actively adopting concrete safety barrier will install around 100 km in 2010 compared with only 50 km in 2009.

Whilst it has been government policy since 2005 to replace steel barrier with the more cost-effective and safer concrete safety barrier, implementation has been disappointingly slow over recent years.

David Jones, Director for Britpave said “The latest statistics are extremely encouraging and the pay-back in terms of both cost-efficiency, fewer vehicle accidents and, of course, less casualties will be realised almost immediately. We are delighted with the news that the installation rate has been stepped up and sincerely hope the government continue to introduce more concrete barrier in 2011”.

Quite right. As regular readers know, this is an issue that has been dear to our hearts for many years.

However, when it comes to safety, some parts of the country seem to be much better served than others. So far, drivers in the north of England seem to be enjoying a far faster roll out of the new concrete technology than drivers in the south of England, despite the fact that there are more motorways and more motorway traffic in the south.

The map shows which counties have installed the most concrete barrier since the campaign was started and Yorkshire clearly comes out on top having installed twice as much as its nearest rival. The combined counties of East Riding and South Yorkshire have now installed 44 km of safety barrier whilst Gloucestershire trails in second place with 23 km, followed closely by Derbyshire with 22 km.

In the south of England however though the situation is somewhat worrying.

Counties like Berkshire which has the M4 running through it, have yet to install any concrete barrier despite the obvious benefits. Similarly, the counties of Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire (M40 and M1) have also failed to take advantage of the new technology. The map clearly shows a gaping hole in the centre of the country despite the fact that three of the busiest motorways pass through these counties.

“This is a real concern” saves David Jones “cash flow is important in a recession but it has long been recognised that concrete safety barrier is actually cheaper than steel. Over the life of the product this will save tax-payers’ money as well as saving lives by eliminating cross-over incidents”.

A cross-over incident is where a vehicle crashes through the steel barrier and meets oncoming traffic on the opposite carriageway. To date, not a single cross-over incident has been reported where a concrete safety barrier has been installed.