Road sign warnings in nine foreign languages to help Continental lorry drivers

Road signs are being deployed in nine foreign languages to help lorry drivers from overseas.

Highways England is displaying the electronic messages on roads approaching an M6 junction near Carlisle where overnight closures are taking place.

An automatic number plate reader is identifying the origin of lorries so that an appropriate language is used, such as “M6 J44 Cerrado” which means “closed” in Spanish.

Other foreign languages being displayed are German, French, Polish, Romanian, Dutch, Lithuanian, Slovak and Hungarian.

The technology has been installed after foreign lorry drivers took wrong turns during roadworks near Penrith last year.

It is believed to be the first time electronic signs have been used in this way on UK roads.

Highways England senior project manager Steve Mason said: “We’re a listening and learning organisation and we’re determined to improve the way customers get roadworks information.

“We carried out major improvements along the A66 near Penrith last year and while the communications and diversion routes worked well, we had some feedback from Cumbria Police that foreign lorry drivers were missing some of the messaging.

“This not only inconvenienced the drivers but also local communities as we had lorries on inappropriate diversion routes.

“We’ve taken that learning on board and hopefully providing tailored messaging for foreign lorry drivers will improve everyone’s experience of these roadworks.”

Inspector Steve Minnikin of Cumbria Police said: “We provided a lot of support around the A66 closures last year and we’re delighted to see that Highways England has responded to our feedback by trialling this idea by being more aware of language differences and being considerate in meeting their needs.

“We all believe this will assist the lorry drivers from other countries in rescheduling their journeys and avoid driving into a road closure with all the inconvenience that it can cause themselves and others.”

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