Smart motorways will not be built for years as roads face ‘multi-million pound’ upgrade

Susanna Reid reveals she feels ‘nervous’ on smart motorways

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The rollout of all-lane running schemes will be paused until at least five years worth of safety data is available. Meanwhile, current stretches of smart motorway schemes will be given “multi-million-pound improvements”.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has committed an extra £900million to the schemes to ensure drivers feel safe and confident

In total, an extra £390million will be used to install an extra 150 emergency areas on the controversial roads.

However, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and the DfT have previoulsly said smart motorways were safe. 

Now, Mr Shapps said he “shared the concerns” of safety campaigners and said the improvements will help “give drivers confidence”.

He said: “One of my first actions as Transport Secretary was to order a stocktake of smart motorways and since then, I have worked consistently to raise the bar on their safety.

“I am grateful to the Transport Committee and to all those who provided evidence for its work.

“While our initial data shows that smart motorways are among the safest roads in the UK, it’s crucial that we go further to ensure people feel safer using them.

“Pausing schemes yet to start construction and making multi-million-pound improvements to existing schemes will give drivers confidence and provide the data we need to inform our next steps.

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“I want to thank safety campaigners, including those who have lost loved ones, for rightly striving for higher standards on our roads.

“I share their concerns.”

The change in approach comes after a Transport Committee report into smart motorways released last November found there were some issues with the roads.

MPs called for the Government to pause the rollout of the scheme after climbing the DfT failed to deliver on its promises to improve safety on the roads.

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