MPs demand smart motorway rollout be stopped over safety fears

MPs demand smart motorway rollout be stopped over safety fears

December 16, 2018

MPs demand smart motorway rollout be stopped over safety fears after crashes involving vehicles on the hard shoulder

  • Motorway scheme getting rid of hard shoulders should be stopped, MPs said
  • All Lane Running (ALR) roads are ‘crazy’ according to campaigners against them 
  • Tracey Crouch, Conservative MP for Chatham and Aylesford wants the rollout paused until more is known about the possible danger to recovery workers 

Hard shoulders are being removed from motorways across Britain, posing extreme risk to drivers, according to MPs.

The roll-out of so called ‘smart motorways’ has been branded ‘dangerous’ by politicians from all parties as they call on the government to put an end to the scheme. 

The programme has been installed on more than 100 miles (161km) of motorways, with 225 miles more planned.

Currently, there are three kinds of smart motorway including All Lane Running (ALR) – which means the hard shoulder is permanently removed, a dynamic hard shoulder – where the hard shoulder is used as a lane in busy traffic and ‘controlled’.

Ellie Montgomery was injured on the M6 when a lorry smashed in to her broken down VW van at up to 60mph on a stretch of motorway

The existing ALR schemes are on sections of the M25, M1 and M6 but will be rolled out on many more miles of motorway around the UK causing major concern for some

When in use speeds are varied to keep the roads safe, Highways England said, but MPs want ALR road plans to be revisited.   

Ellie Montgomery was badly injured on the M6 in Cheshire when her family vehicle broke down on an ALR section of the road. As they sat in their van a lorry ploughed into the back of them.

As they were speaking to a 999 operator a lorry, travelling at between 50mph and 60mph, rammed into the back of their van.

The two parents, Ellie and Duncan and their five-year-old daughter Rose were knocked unconscious.

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Mr Montgomery told Channel 4 News he was the first to come round: ‘I firstly dragged myself back, I had a dead leg so I couldn’t really move.

‘Glass was smashed everywhere, the whole side of the van was halfway across the carriage.

‘I got Rose and dragged her into the front driver’s seat where she was throwing up blood.’

The Montgomery family van was badly damaged in the crash when there was no hard shoulder for them to stop on

The Campaign for Safer Roadside Rescue and Recovery (CSRRR) was set up by Samantha Cockerill – whose partner Steve Godbold, a vehicle recovery worker, was killed in September 2017 when an HGV strayed on to the hard shoulder of the M25.

The group called  smart motorways ‘crazy’ and said recovery workers are in real danger.   

Tracey Crouch, Conservative MP for Chatham and Aylesford, who sits on the group backing Ms Cockerill, told 5 live Investigates the rollout should be halted with immediate effect.

‘We need the government to pause and reflect on whether we’re getting this right,’ she said. 

Highways England insists the roads without hard shoulders are as safe as traditional motorways. 

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