29 MARCH 2021


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Article from BTNews 29 MARCH 2021

SMART motorway problems

A review of the new “Smart” Motorways has been ordered by the transport secretary after the death of a women on the M1 in South Yorkshire.

Last month the local coroner asked the Crown Prosecution Service to consider corporate manslaughter charges against Highways England in a review of the incident.

The idea of the “smart” motorways is to increase road capacity by removing the permanent hard shoulder to create an extra lane.  Refuge areas are then located every 1.5 miles and a red-light system on the overhead gantries warns drivers that the inner lane is closed if the vehicle cannot make an emergency layby.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps in a statement to Parliament said that the system had been put in place before his appointment and has asked the Office of Road and Rail (ORR) to study data on these stretches of road to ensure that the figures are “robust”.



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OUR READERS' FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum

Colin Smith, Chenies

Surely as the Minister in charge, Grant Shapps is the one accountable. The "putting in place before his appointment " doesn't absolve him. He needs to take responsibility and take urgent action now before more lives are lost. An immediate solution could be to activate the red lights over all nearside lanes while plans to restore safety are put in place. Presumably the ORR study will simply confirm the robustness of the numbers killed as a result of this disastrous DfT policy; what else can it do other than produce a more robust whitewash of this dreadful system.

Michael carrivick,

The so-called smart motorways are a deliberate policy of sacrificing safety for road capacity. Taking away the hard shoulder impacts (I use the word deliberately) on lack of safety refuges plus loss of access for emergency vehicles. Horrible enough when breaking down in daylight, they are catastrophic in dark and wet conditions. Someone needs to be accountable in law.

Angus Hart, Glasgow

The so-called SMART Motorway are another DfT disaster. It reminds me of BA’s ethnic tailfins where the artwork people gained contract for the design and one for the redesign. No doubt the same construction company will replace the SMART Motorway with the traditional hard shoulder. Nice work if you can get it.