Speed limits for motorway roadworks where the limit is currently 50mph could be raised in a bid to ease congestion in England.
Highways England recently carried out trials in which it was discovered that drivers' heart rates were lower when they drove at 55mph or 60mph rather than the usual 50mph through roadworks. The study further suggested that motorists felt more relaxed travelling at higher speeds, partly because they had a greater ability to accelerate past heavy goods vehicles.
It is reported that the new limits could come into effect in some areas this year. Unite a trade union, which represents road workers throughout the UK, said the proposed speed increases ignored the safety of those maintaining motorways, who "work in already very dangerous conditions".
A spokesman said: "Sadly, in recent years there have been several deaths of motorway workers and these changes will make their work even more dangerous.
"Already motorists frequently drive into coned-off areas. At increased speeds, it will make such potentially lethal accidents even more common."
Edmund King, president of the AA, said increasing the speed limit could help reduce congestion, he said it had to be targeted at the longest stretches of road works where there were no workers.
He said: "When work is going on and it's in close proximity to the carriageways we should stick at lower speeds and sometimes it needs to be lower than 50mph, depending on the layout."
Jim O'Sullivan, chief executive of Highways England, told The Times
that the 60mph limit was "something that we want to introduce to as many roadworks as possible".
But Mr O'Sullivan said that lower speeds were likely to be maintained in areas with narrow lanes, contraflows or where workers are close to the road, due to safety reasons.
Other sources include: BBC