£95,700 giant airbag to protect road workers in Coventry

An inflatable safety barrier that can be deployed in a matter of minutes is to help protect road workers on Coventry motorways.

A new giant airbag is being trialled in Coventry in a bid to reduce the number of motorists that mistakenly drive into work areas putting drivers and road workers at risk.

Large and bright, the airbag sends a clear message to drivers and can be deployed very quickly – inflatable in under 10 minutes.

The inflatable barrier will be initially trialled on a slip road at the A45/A45 Stivichall interchange during roadworks later in October.

Highways England said vehicles are often driven into work sites on slip roads as drivers try to exit the motorway, but the inflatable barrier should act as a deterrent.

Lisa Maric, Highways England’s Midlands Innovation Manager, explained her commitment to “investing in new innovations to help improve safety for road workers and users.”

Road workers report nearly 300 incidents of vehicle incursions onto work sites and abuse every week.

Lisa continued: “It is a far too frequent hazard for our workforce going about their daily job – and the consequences could be fatal.”

It is anticipated the airbag will be tested in various types of traffic management scenarios over the coming months.

The inflatable barrier is in addition to cones and signs, adding another layer to the traditional traffic management to influence drivers’ behaviour and prevent vehicle incursions.

Mark Sheppard, from construction company Kier, praised the project as a “great opportunity to trial something a little bit different, to supplement the standard approach to road worker protection measures.”

The £95,700 cost of the airbags trial was met through Highways England’s Designated Funds programme.