Highway maintenance is one of the most dangerous construction industry occupations in Europe. This article looks at the potential of using smart and cost saving protection systems to replace conventional traffic control devices such as cones. It introduces the Safelane system which proves to be cost saving. This system has two key elements: the intelligent, battery-powered ‘intellicone’ sensor and a portable variable message sign (VMS). An intruding vehicle can be detected by the cone sensor and warned by a VMS.