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17th Jan, 2022

Government pauses smart motorway rollout amid safety concerns

Rob George 12th Jan, 2022 Updated: 12th Jan, 2022

THE ROLLOUT of ‘all-lane-running’ smart motorways is being paused amid safety concerns, the Government has announced

The Department for Transport has said it will halt the expansion of the motorways, where the hard shoulder is used as a permanent live traffic lane, until five years’ worth of data has been collected to assess whether or not they are safe for drivers.

The decision follows a recommendation by the Commons Transport Select Committee which said there was not enough safety and economic data to justify continuing with the project.

The Government has pledged to improve safety on existing all-lane-running motorways, but relatives of people who have died on the roads have urged ministers to go further by reinstating the hard shoulder.

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “One of my first actions as Transport Secretary was to order a stocktake of smart motorways and since then, I have worked consistently to raise the bar on their safety. I am grateful to the Transport Committee and to all those who provided evidence for its work.

“While our initial data shows that smart motorways are among the safest roads in the UK, it’s crucial that we go further to ensure people feel safer using them.

“Pausing schemes yet to start construction and making multi-million-pound improvements to existing schemes will give drivers confidence and provide the data we need to inform our next steps.

“I want thank safety campaigners, including those who have lost loved ones, for rightly striving for higher standards on our roads. I share their concerns.”

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