MPs on the Transport Select Committee have urged the Government to pause the Smart Motorway Programme amid rising safety concerns.
The MPs want to see the Office for Rail and Road start a probe into the safety of all-lane running motorways, which have no hard shoulder, and scrutinise the Government’s recent £500m package of measures to make Smart motorways safer for motorists.
It described the government’s decision in March 2020 that all future smart motorways would be all-lane-running versions as “premature”.
The Commons’ Transport Select Committee said there was not enough safety and economic data to justify continuing with the plans.
It recommended the Department and National Highways should pause the rollout of all-lane running motorways until five-years of safety data is available for the remaining 112 miles of all-lane running motorway introduced before 2020.
National Highways has already committed to ensuring all new stretches of all-lane-running ‘smart’ motorways are fitted with emergency refuge areas (ERAs) no more than one mile apart at any point and 0.75 miles apart wherever possible.
The Transport Committee, in its report published today, has now called for these same measures to be taken on the existing smart motorway network, with ERAs retrofitted at these same intervals.
The Department for Transport said it would consider the recommendations.