Multi-language traffic signs being used first time in Britain

Multi-language road signs are being piloted for the first time on one of Britain’s busiest motorways, Highways England said Wednesday.

The ground-breaking initiative aims to improve information about road works and road closures for European truck drivers by using electronic message signs in nine languages.

The system uses an automatic number plate reader at the side of the road, sending a message to the electronic sign that a foreign registered truck is approaching.

The sign can then spell words, such as “closed” in either German, French, Polish, Romanian, Dutch, Spanish, Lithuanian, Slovak and Hungarian, warning that a junction ahead is closed.

The trial is taking place in northern England where a multi-million dollar improvement project is taking place at a major junction on the busy M6 motorway.

Steve Mason, senior project manager with Highways England, said: “We carried out major improvements last year and while the communications and diversion routes worked well, we had some feedback from the police that foreign drivers were missing some of the messaging. Hopefully providing tailored messaging for foreign truck drivers will improve everyone’s experience of the roadworks.”

The innovative multilingual signs have been placed along two major routes leading to the motorway to warn drivers about the overnight junction closures.

Inspector Steve Minnikin from Cumbria Police said: “This will assist truck drivers from other countries in rescheduling their journeys and avoid driving into a road closure with all the inconvenience that it can cause.”