RAC concerned over ?smart? motorways
The RAC has voiced its concerns after plans to make the hard shoulder on motorways an active lane for traffic were released.
About 8 miles of the M25, between junctions 23 and 25 became England’s first ‘smart’ motorway section last month, which sees permanent traffic running on the hard shoulder.
However, the RAC has raised its concerns saying that vehicles who break down on the motorway would find it impossible to find a refuge area.
Technical director at RAC, David Bizley said: “The RAC has raised concerns with the Highways Agency about the added risk arising from increased distance between emergency refuge areas, and we are disappointed so far at the absence of action to address them.”
The Highways Agency came up with the new ‘smart’ motorway scheme, where the hard shoulder is used as a lane for traffic during busy times of the day.
The M42, M1, M6 and the M5 now have the scheme in operation, between certain junctions.
As a result of the new scheme, emergency refuge areas are now around 2.5 kilometres apart, instead of the usual 500-800 metres.
A spokesperson for The Highways Agency said: “There are clear advantages for anyone that drives frequently.
“Improved traffic flow reduces driver stress suffered from the stop-start nature of driving on congested roads, and the increased reliability of journey times will assist in planning fleet journeys and logistics.”
In a recent survey, carried out by the RAC, 84% said that the hard shoulder was important in breakdown and accident situations and 82% said they would feel ‘very concerned’ if they broke down in lane 1.