Friday, June 14, 2024

Campaigners welcome ‘smart motorways’ decision hoping it will impact on Lower Thames crossing

A GROUP campaigning against the proposed new Lower Thames Crossing has welcomed a decision to scrap “dangerous” smart motorways reports the Local Democracy Reporter.

The Government announced it is to scrap 14 planned smart motorways. The technology was introduced in 2014 to manage the flow of traffic, including converting the hard shoulder into a live lane.

The roads have been blamed for a string of accidents and fatalities where motorists have been forced to stop in live lanes only to be hit from behind.

Campaigners believe the £8.2billion Lower Thames Crossing would be a “smart motorway by stealth” because while being called an all-purpose trunk road, it would have been built to smart road standards.

Laura Blake, from the Thames Crossing Action Group, said: “Whilst National Highways appear to be trying to disguise the proposed Lower Thames Crossing as an all-purpose trunk Road, the evidence in the official planning application documents states the proposed Lower Thames Crossing “would operate with no hard shoulder”. “It would also feature technology including stopped vehicle and incident detection, lane control, variable speed limits and electronic signage and signalling. “

“Put simply the proposed crossing would be a smart motorway by stealth. We welcome the news that government are scrapping new smart motorways, this should include the proposed Lower Thames Crossing, and the dangers of existing smart motorways also needs to be resolved.”

Ms Blake added: “The evidence shows that all the aspects that people have concerns about in regard to smart motorways would be present with the crossing, if it goes ahead. We are writing to all the relevant parties to again call for the proposal to be scrapped.”

The Government paused the construction of new smart motorways last year. In his latest announcement Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak said “All drivers deserve to have confidence in the roads they use to get around the country. Many people across the country rely on driving to get to work, to take their children to school and go about their daily lives and I want them to be able to do so with full confidence that the roads they drive on are safe.”

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