Smart motorways to get more emergency lay-bys
Extra lay-bys are to be installed on smart motorways in an attempt to improve safety, Highways England has confirmed.
These new emergency refuge areas will be added to the sections of smart motorways which the government-owned agency deemed to be the most dangerous in a recently published safety review.
A smart motorway is defined as a length of motorway where traffic management methods such as opening up the hard shoulder as a running lane or variable speed limits are put in place to try and reduce congestion during particularly busy periods.
It’s hoped that the additional lay-bys will prevent drivers from being forced to stop in the middle of a live lane if they suffer a breakdown or some other type of incident.
The maximum amount of space permitted between new lay-bys will also be reduced “where practical” from 1.5 miles to just one.
Although certain campaign groups have voiced concerns over the introduction of smart motorways in the UK, Highways England Chief Executive Jim O’ Sullivan disagrees.
“Evidence demonstrates that ALR (all lane running or smart motorways) delivers comparable levels of safety to traditional motorways – including a significant improvement on the M25,” he wrote to the Common’s Transport Select Committee.
Parts of the M1, M6, M4 and M25 have already become smart motorways with another 480 miles of road set to be converted in the next couple of years.