USERS of the M5 motorway are facing speed restrictions until the summer as part of a £27.3million maintenance programme.
A new central reservation rigid concrete barrier will replace the existing steel one from Junction 4a, at the M42, and Junction 6 for Worcester.
Workmen have been putting the preparations in place for the last couple of weeks with the work set to start in the next few days.
The changes will improve safety on the carriageway and support a future Smart Motorway scheme, which helps reduce congestion by monitoring traffic flow and using the hard shoulder during peak times to provide extra capacity.
It is also much cheaper than the more expensive option of widening the motorway.
While the work is taking place, there will be three narrow lanes of traffic, using the hard shoulder as one of the lanes and a 50mph speed limit will be in force.
Highways bosses hope it will ensure a smooth flow of traffic and reduce the risk to road users and those working on the motorway.
As well as the central reservation improvements, there will also be some drainage work and the installation of traffic management technology, such as CCTV cameras.
A stretch of 450m – between Junction 4a and 5 – will also have its lighting columns removed as they are deemed to be no longer fit for purpose.