The government has announced that all plans for new smart motorways have been cancelled.
This will mean the 11 schemes already paused, and the 3 earmarked for construction, will be removed from the government’s road-building plans in recognition of the current lack of public confidence felt by drivers and cost pressures.
While no new stretches will be converted, work on the M56 J6 to J8 and M6 J21a to J26 will go ahead as planned given they are already over three-quarters constructed.
The government and National Highways will continue to invest £900 million in further safety improvements on existing smart motorways. This includes installing stopped vehicle detection technology on every all lane running smart motorway which has now been completed, adding an additional 150 emergency areas across the network by 2025 and investing in giving motorists clear advice when using existing smart motorways.
The Government says it will also continue to give motorists clear advice when using existing smart motorways.
The RAC said existing smart motorways – which make up about 10% of England’s motorway network – now had to be made “as safe as possible”.
RAC road safety spokesman Simon Williams said: “This is a watershed announcement and a victory for everyone who has campaigned against these motorways that, by their design, put drivers in more danger should they be unlucky enough to break down on one.
“Our research shows all lane running smart motorways are deeply unpopular with drivers so we’re pleased the Government has finally arrived at the same conclusion.”
*Sources gov.uk and Fleet News