All future Smart Motorway construction has been scrapped!

As the government acknowledges the shortcomings of the Smart Motorway network and cancels further projects, is this the moment campaigners have been waiting for?

smart motorways

EARLIER this month the UK PM, Rishi Sunak, went on the record to acknowledge the safety concerns around Smart Motorways, and now all further construction of the roads is to be scrapped.

The U-turn comes after massive public pressure on the government to halt any further work on the project, and the news will likely be something that safety campaigners across the country will be very relieved to hear. 

All future Smart Motorway construction scrapped in government U-turn

This means that 14 planned Smart Motorways, including 11 that are already paused and a further three that are earmarked for construction, will be removed from the government’s road-building plan. The sections of Smart Motorway that remain already built and operational will continue as they are, albeit with a refit to help improve safety.
The news is something that Smart Motorway safety campaigner Claire Mercer is happy to hear, although for her the battle is only half won. Speaking to the PA news agency, she’s now pushing to have hard shoulders reinstated on all existing sections of Smart Motorway.
“It’s great, it’s very good news.” she said “I’m particularly happy that it’s been confirmed that the routes that are in planning, in progress, have also been cancelled. I didn’t think they’d do that. So it’s good news, but obviously it’s the existing ones that are killing us. And I’m not settling for more emergency refuge areas. So it’s half the battle, but we’ve still got half the battle to go.”

If Mercer’s plea is listened to, full hard shoulders would be put back onto the existing roads, although it does seem more likely that the government will go down the route of installing dynamic hard shoulders instead. This system would see the hard shoulder used as a place of refuge when traffic levels are low and vehicles are moving with ease. When the road becomes more congested, and traffic moves more slowly, the hard shoulder can be opened as an extra lane, easing the congestion and keeping traffic flowing.

Speaking to, Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “We want the public to know that this Government is listening to their concerns. Today’s announcement means no new smart motorways will be built, recognising the lack of public confidence felt by drivers and the cost pressures due to inflation.”

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