January 31, 2023

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Drive your way

Smart motorway rollout was “entirely wrong”, transport secretary tells MPs

The secretary of condition for transportation has criticised the way in which Highways England rolled out wise motorways, branding it “entirely wrong” and adding that motorists even now do not know how to drive on them appropriately.

Talking prior to the Transport Committee, Grant Shapps condemned the reality that wise motorways “sprung up” devoid of a public information marketing campaign on what they were and how they worked, leaving drivers baffled as to what to do if they break down in a stay lane.

Shapps also admitted his surprise at Highways England not owning implemented stopped car detection (SVD) technology from the commence to lessen the time taken to place damaged-down automobiles. He mentioned that the deadline for SVD to be put in on all stretches of wise motorway is staying brought forward from March 2023 to upcoming year.

The Division for Transport (DfT) previously carried out an ‘evidence stocktake’ into wise motorways pursuing concerns about their safety. This resulted in dynamic wise motorways – wherever the outer lane can change concerning staying a tough shoulder and a stay operating lane – staying abolished.

Meanwhile, all-lane operating (ALR) wise motorways – wherever there is no tough shoulder – were saved, with a determination to place unexpected emergency refuge places a few-quarters of a mile aside wherever attainable, and no far more than just one mile aside on any new stretches of ALR wise motorway.

Shapps instructed the Transport Committee that wise motorways are also pricey to get rid of, as creating new tough shoulders on all of them would involve the acquire of land equivalent to “700 Wembley stadiums”.

Phone calls for wise motorway evaluate

Sensible motorways became the topic of scrutiny again in January, when a coroner termed for a evaluate of them after two men died when their stationary automobiles were struck by a lorry on the M1.

Jason Mercer’s Ford Aim and Alexandru Murgeanu’s Ford Transit collided on a stretch of the M1 wise motorway wherever there is no tough shoulder. When the two drivers stopped to trade information, they were strike by a lorry staying pushed by Prezemyslaw Szuba.

Szuba is at present in prison, owning admitted to creating dying by careless driving very last year. Although Coroner David Urpeth mentioned Szuba’s inattention to the street was the principal cause of the two men’s deaths, the inquest at Sheffield City Hall read that the incident may possibly have been averted if there had been a tough shoulder for Mercer and Murgeanu to end on.

Recording a verdict of unlawful killing, Urpeth mentioned he would compose to Highways England and Grant Shapps, calling for a evaluate of wise motorways.

In a assertion, Highways England mentioned: “We extend our deepest sympathies to the family members of Alexandru Murgeanu and Jason Mercer. We recognise this continues to be an amazingly complicated time for them.

“Every street dying is a tragic loss of existence. We are determined to do all we can to make our roads as secure as attainable and are by now addressing lots of of the points raised… by the coroner as released in the Government’s Sensible Motorway Proof Stocktake and Action Strategy of March 2020. We will cautiously contemplate any additional comments elevated by the coroner once we obtain the report.”

Do you assume roads are finding far more harmful? Let us know your feelings in the comments beneath…