Plans for 11 smart m-ways have been axed, giving Mail a victory.


Plans for 11 smart m-ways have been scrapped, resulting in a win for Mail.

Last night, ministers halted the rollout of 120 miles of smart highway as safety concerns about the ‘death trap’ roads grew.

Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, also announced that £390 million would be spent to construct 150 additional emergency laybys so that drivers whose vehicles have broken down do not have to stop in traffic.

It will increase the number of laybys on smart motorways by about 50%, making them less than a mile apart.

They are currently up to 1.5 miles apart, which motoring groups warn is dangerous.

The news is a win for the Daily Mail, which has campaigned for improved safety on the tumultuous roads.

It came after a damning report from the Commons transport committee last year, which urged ministers to take action over fatal flaws.

Mr. Shapps stated that he would follow the report’s recommendations to the letter.

Despite the suspension of 120 miles of ‘all-lane-running’ (ALR) smart motorway construction – in which the hard shoulder is replaced with a permanent lane – a further 100 miles will be built because these stretches are more than half-complete and it is deemed safer to finish them.

The 120 miles will be halted until April 2024, allowing for the collection of five years of safety data from more than 200 miles of schemes before deciding whether it is safe to build new ALR roads.

On each carriageway, the delayed schemes cover a total of 60 miles.

Mr. Shapps also agreed to consider allowing the Office of Rail and Road to sign off on all new roads for the sake of health and safety.

The watchdog will also look into radar technology that can detect vehicles stuck in traffic lanes in less than 20 seconds.

Officials say it’s ineffective.

He’ll also take a look at the dynamic hard shoulder and controlled highways.

The former has a hard shoulder that is occasionally used as a live line, whereas the latter has a hard shoulder but uses variable speed limits.

‘At long last, we have a Transport Secretary who has taken a positive and pragmatic approach,’ said AA president Edmund King. ‘However, the AA view remains that controlled motorways with a hard shoulder are the safest option.’

The RAC’s head of roads policy, Nicholas Lyes, called the decision “an unqualified victory for drivers.”

Claire Mercer, whose husband died as a result of smart motorways, praised the move as a positive step, but said all motorways should have a hard shoulder.

Jason, 44, died in a lorry accident in June of this year…

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