Smart Motorways | Retrospective Safety Upgrades Added

National Highways is woking on the Smart Motorways network, converting existing safety cameras to detect ‘Red X’ violations and adding signage around refuges areas


NATIONAL HIGHWAYS has this week announced upgrades to existing smart motorways, something it hopes will increase safety and the public’s perception of the roads.

The first of the ‘safety’ upgrades is upgrading existing National Highways road safety cameras so that they can detect ‘Red X’ violations. This change will make it easier for fines to be handed out to road users that flaunt a ‘Red X’ lane closure.

A ‘Red X’ lane closure will be notified to the road users via the overhead gantries and will normally be accompanied by signs pointing vehicles to the remaining open lanes. Flouting the lane closure could land the driver with a £100 fine and up to three points on their licence.

Smart Motorways to gain new emergency signage

Another ‘safety’ upgrade is the installation of 330 signs notifying road users as to where the next emergency refuge area is situated. The emergency refuge areas are bright yellow in colour and include an emergency telephone to call for help and signage indicating that they are for emergency use only.

The emergency refuge areas are located around 1,500-meteres apart, although campaign groups, including RoSPA, have asked the Transport Select Committee to reduce this distance to 1,000-meteres or less.

The upgrades are on top of the rollout of radar-based Stopped Vehicle Detection systems on every All Lane Running (ALR) smart motorway. The Stopped Vehicle Detection systems were originally to be added to all ALR roads at the point of construction, although many miles of smart motorway still to this day do not have the technology fitted. National Highways hopes to have this rectified by September 2022.

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