As it continues its highway improvement activity across the Island’s roads and pavements, Island Roads is appealing to motorists to comply with Road Closed signs put up to prevent access to work sites.
Road closed signs mean just that – the road is closed beyond that point to all vehicles and that includes cyclists.
These signs are also legally enforceable meaning motorists risk facing a £100 fine and three points on their licence if they ignore them. If the offence is considered serious, drivers may even be summoned to appear in court to face more hefty fines and a possible driving ban.
While the vast majority of motorists do heed these signs, there have been regular instances where some drivers have not – some even going to great lengths to move weighted barriers, putting both themselves and those working on site at risk.
And it’s not just drivers who have been ignoring the signs. Incidents too where cyclists have driven through road closures have become more frequent, including an incident at the recent Sandown Sprint event where, had it not been for the quick actions of an Island Roads’ employee, a cyclist would have found himself in the path of racing vehicles travelling at high speeds towards him on a closed section of the Esplanade.
Keith Gourlay, Island Roads construction manager, said: “The signs are in place for a good reason – first and foremost to keep road users and our work staff safe.
“But having a work site free of traffic also enables our crews to focus on the job in hand rather than re-directing motorists. This in turn helps us to complete work schemes on schedule which benefits everyone in the long run.
“The great majority of people do stick to the rules and we thank them for their co-operation. This is an appeal to a very small minority who by ignoring the signs do put themselves, our staff – and the progress of work – at risk.”
Highway work often takes place in very narrow sections of roads too, such as the work coming up to repair roadside verges in rural areas, where turning vehicles would be extremely difficult. Or in residential areas where pedestrian traffic tends to be higher – making it especially important not to ignore road closed signs.
Island Roads are also keen to point out though, that these are not to be confused with ‘Road Ahead Closed’ signs – which provide an advance warning of a road closure ahead and can still be used to gain access to properties or businesses.
Keith added: “We try wherever possible to keep roads open while we work, using traffic signals to control traffic flows. We only close roads as a last resort and there will always be a good reason for doing so. By obeying these road closed signs motorists will be helping us to complete work as quickly and as safely as possible.”