CHARLES GRAHAM - Time to stop not-so-smart motorways
I’ve always felt uncomfortable with a crucial aspect of so-called “smart” motorways.
While there is merit in having someone in a control box monitoring traffic and altering speed signs and cameras to optimise flow, and while it is appealing to think that an extra lane can be opened to ease congestion at heavy times, I have always harboured major concerns about what happens if someone breaks down at these peak times.
We were meant to be getting one coming up the M6 to Orrell, but that has been shelved as the Government responds to similar safety worries to my own at last.
It was argued that special lay-bys would compensate for the hard shoulder’s deployment as a slow lane, but they are intermittent at best and of little use unless you come a cropper right next to one - especially if your car or bus has elderly or disabled occupants who can’t even get over the safety barrier.
And how are emergency vehicles supposed to get through to an incident if the hard shoulder is full of traffic as well as the other lanes?
Sad to say 38 people have died on these hard shoulders since they were introduced five years ago. They should be scrapped now.