21 Apr 2023
  • Motorway in the United Kingdom

Smart Motorways Axed

The introduction of new smart motorways has been scrapped, with 14 planned schemes - including 11 on pause and three to be built – no longer going ahead.

The official reasons, announced by the government, relate to cost and safety concerns, with a string of avoidable accidents on temporarily closed lanes of traffic that were being used as emergency stopping areas. This is the basis of smart motorways, which are designed to better accommodate traffic at peak times.

With the public purse also under pressure, existing smart motorways will stay and get a safety upgrade to create more emergency stopping areas and improve the technology employed by these stretches of road, which currently make up 10% of England’s network.

Two stretches of smart motorway, on the M56 and M6, will continue to be built as they are more than three-quarters complete.

Edmund King OBE, AA President, said: “For a decade I’ve been banging on the doors of a dozen Transport Secretaries and Ministers, telling them about the deadly dangers of ‘smart’ motorways.

“At the AA we did all we could to make the case for change. I wrote to Rishi Sunak pleading for action on Good Friday and am delighted that the Prime Minister has at last listened to the people and I welcome the decision that the new future ‘smart’ motorways planned will be scrapped.

“This is a victory for common sense and safety which I wholeheartedly welcome. I have waited a long time for politicians to listen and at last, let’s hope that this decision marks the end of the deadly ‘smart’ motorways.”

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