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We caught up with Lead Traffic Management Operative Sinead Ryan to find out what she loves about working on the highways.



“I’m Sinead Ryan, Lead Traffic Management Operative (LTMO) based out of the Peterborough depot. I live in Holbeach which is about 30 minutes from here. I’ve been here for 5-years, and I became an LTMO earlier this year. Basically, I’m a crew foreman, responsible for a team and making sure we fulfil our briefs.

“A lot of people are still shocked to see a woman on site. When they ask, “who’s the person in charge here”, and I answer, they look surprised! But my sister Helen, who is a Contracts Manager here, drummed it into me from day one – I am no different, just because I’m female, I can do everything that everyone else can. And she’s right, I don’t feel any different.”

Helen, Sinead’s sister was instrumental in encouraging her to join the Peterborough-based team. Sinead had finished college and started a business course but didn’t feel inspired by it. Instead, Helen helped her secure a place in traffic management.

“For 10-years there has always been a woman working at the Peterborough depot, so I think they’re all pretty used to us now!” Sinead jokes. “I started in the yard as a sign maker, I really enjoyed this, especially in winter because it needed to be warm in the depot to protect the vinyl! It felt like a family. I stayed there longer than most do, about one and a half years, until Covid really, That was the start of a lot of change in that team and I decided to move onto nights.”

“I love my job, I love working on the back of the cushion. I prefer working nights, I don’t think day shifts are as challenging, and like Katie I prefer the variety of night works. I really value the freedom of this job. It’s really different, and it’s fun.”

Sinead has found it hard to balance her work and social life in the past, especially when she is working nights. But she quickly counters that by explaining how the people she works with a big part of her social life. She also lives with her sister and her sister’s partner, and her cousin Ellie, all of whom work in traffic management.

“We all socialize together, usually at odd times of night when our shift finishes! We’re in it, working nights, together and I think that creates a unique bond. It helps to live with people who work in traffic management, they understand the demands of the job, the shift patterns, and that helps. But, boundaries are important. I make a point of getting up at midday at the latest so that I can make the most of the day I try and ensure I’ve got about 6-hours to do normal day-time things. I like to get my nails done and my eyelashes.”

Sinead encouraged two other women to join the crew in Peterborough. She finds great value in paying forward everything she has learned teaching trainees at the business.

“It’s not like anything else out there. I remember helping Katie when she started by showing her how to tie some of the knots we use with a dressing gown cord. And me and Ellie used to practice her taper over and over when it was quiet on a gate so that the first time, she did it she would blow them away! I love passing what I’ve learned onto the trainees, it’s such a rewarding experience when you hear someone using something that you taught them!

I really do believe that everyone can do this job. The advice I would give anyone who hasn’t done this job before, male or female, is be prepared not to take yourself too seriously, be strong willed, and be prepared to stand up for yourself. I think you also need to be adaptable, it’s a different environment from any I’ve worked in before. You do work with a lot of guys, and that means there is a certain way of communicating that’s different to an all-female environment like a hairdresser. It isn’t better or worse, it’s just different. There is less censorship on language for example, but I also think much less catty than the environment in a beauty business!”

Sinead has always been out spoken about her experiences with difficult customers on the network, promoting awareness of roadworker abuse and calling for better protections for highway workers. She shared her experiences in a recent article by HW Martin (Traffic Management) Ltd, explaining how the advent of new technologies help make the highways safer. She also participated in a a video as part of Stamp it Out in March of 2024. Stamp it Out is a campaign that calls for the end of roadworker abuse.