Speed limits around roadworks

RACV RoyalAuto Magazine

Signs need fixing

How often have you seen roadworks signs and roadworks speed limits where there are no roadworks?

A big problem on Victoria’s roads are lower roadwork speed limits that start well before and continue long after actual works, or are in locations that are unnecessary.

Signs are also mistakenly left in place when the works have been completed.

The right limits used at the right time provide safety for road workers and road users. But used incorrectly, they cause confusion and are ignored.

Often, wrong speed limits and wrong signs are found on major roads. However, they may not all be due to roadworks by VicRoads. Speed limits can be established for utility works, such as water, gas, telecommunications and electricity, or for building works adjacent to a road. However, VicRoads is ultimately responsible for the standards, and contractors must use them correctly. The owner of a road, VicRoads or the local council, must ensure the roadworks signs are right for the safety of road users and road workers.

RACV is calling on the contractors and traffic management companies erecting roadwork signs and speed limits to lift their game. Lower speed limits and lane closures should only be used when absolutely necessary for the safety of workers and/or road users. Lower limits should not routinely be left in place during lunch breaks, overnight or on weekends unless there is a genuine risk. Nor should they be set up too far in advance of, or after, a roadwork site.

VicRoads has begun a review of traffic management practices in Victoria. RACV thinks there is significant opportunity for improvement. Reforms must include a huge step up in the monitoring and surveillance of all traffic management across Victoria by VicRoads and councils, and greater penalties for contractors who break the rules.

RACV also calls on all motorists to obey roadworks speed limits. Reduced limits should be there for the safety of road workers and road users, and the reason may not always be apparent.

When drivers encounter roadworks speed limits, the lower limit continues until the next speed limit sign. Even if there is an END ROADWORKS sign, you must continue at the lower speed until you pass another speed sign. Roadworks speed limits are enforceable – and on freeways speed cameras automatically adjust to the lower limit to catch vehicles that exceed that limit.

RACV encourages drivers to report issues with roadworks signage directly to the responsible road authority to ensure they can be actioned quickly and appropriately.

If you encounter roadworks with wrong signs and speed limits, please note the location, date and time and contact the road authority. If you are a pedestrian, or there is a passenger in the vehicle, and they can safely take photos, take a photo to clearly show the issue. Find out who is the responsible road authority, and how to contact them here.

In an emergency, always call 000.

Wrong roadworks signs are frustrating, especially when nothing is happening. If you see an issue, report it.


Updated 17 April 2018


Written by Dave Jones, Photos Meredith O'Shea
June 01, 2015