NB ups speed limit for safety

FREDERICTON — New Brunswick has implemented a handful of measures to increase safety in construction zones, including increasing speed limits.

That’s not a typo either. The province is increasing speed limits in the name of safety.

According to a story in the Times & Transcript, the initial plan didn’t sit well with the New Brunswick Road Builders Association. But the group eventually relented after being shown a national study that showed higher speed limits in construction zones reduced driver frustration and rear-end collisions, ultimately improving safety.

Under the new rules – which came into effect earlier this month – posted speed limits will be reduced by 20 km/h in construction zones.

With the new rules, the construction zone speed limit on a highway where the limit is 110 km/h will be 90 km/h. In the past, construction zone speed limits were typically reduced to 70 km/h.

A construction zone safety co-ordinator will have the option to request a lower speed limit, if they feel it’s necessary.

The increase in speed limit is outlined the province’s Work Area Traffic Control Manual, along with a handful of other new safety measures.

The manual also now requires a full-time safety control officer on each job site, who is responsible for checking all safety hazards several times a day and maintaining a paper trail of checklists to show that everything was done by the book. There are also new rules for the deployment of warning signs, more visible safety clothing worn by work crews (especially during night shifts) and the need for portable crash-absorbing units to shield workers from oncoming vehicles. The shields will represent a significant investment for road work companies since they cost in the area of $20,000 each.

A task force of government, police, public safety and the road builders association were all involved in making the changes.

— with files from the Times & Transcript

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