IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s biggest independent road safety charity, has welcomed reports that the Government intends to halt all smart motorway building – stating they must be guaranteed safe before any further public money is invested in them.
In the House of Commons on Thursday (30 January) Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, said a £92 million project in Kent will not open to traffic while the dangers of the roads are being assessed.
Other smart motorways due to be completed this year are a 10-mile stretch of the M62 in Greater Manchester, an 11-mile stretch of the M23 near Gatwick Airport and a 13.6-mile stretch of the M6 between Coventry and Coleshill – as yet there is no word on whether these projects will be completed either.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “A stop on new smart motorways until they can be guaranteed safe and understandable for all users makes sense.
“Spending scarce resource on roads that may have to be upgraded again in a few months would be a complete waste of time and put drivers’ lives at risk.
“The focus must now be on quickly establishing what can be done to make existing smart motorways much safer. That must start with a programme to deliver the right detection technology and more frequent refuges, as well as safe completion of current ‘live’ projects”
He added: “Extended education campaigns can also start immediately as well as greater enforcement of Red X violations across the network.”