Smart Motorways...paused

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NewcastleFalcon
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Smart Motorways...paused

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Smart motorway rollout paused as emergency refuge areas increased
The Department for Transport (DfT) is halting the rollout of new, all-lane running smart motorway schemes until five years of safety data is available.
It is the DfT's response to this House of Commons Committee report published November 2021 "Rollout and safety of smart motorways"


If you want to get the words from the horses mouth...this is Grant Shapps' written statement to parliament 12th January 2022. Unsurprisingly slipped of the national news agenda yesterday.
Regards Neil
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GiveMeABreak
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Re: Smart Motorways...paused

Post by GiveMeABreak »

I clocked that too. There's nothing 'Smart' about them and any junior school pupil would of been able to tell them that these are a disaster waiting to happen - and sadly loss of life has occurred as a result. I mean just how the hell are you supposed to get off the motorway if broken down when everyone else is hammering it down the hard shoulder behind you and you are stationary?

They should be for emergencies only and nothing else.
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Paul-R
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Re: Smart Motorways...paused

Post by Paul-R »

It really, REALLY annoys me that two aspects have been conflated into one term - smart motorway. And the bit that is dangerous isn't even the original smart motorway concept but something else that got crowbarred in.

The original smart motorway was conceived as a motorway where the speed of the vehicles could be controlled to prevent bunching. Keeping the speeds constant, but slower, results in an overall improvement in traffic throughput. If they'd just stuck to this with the variable speed limits then we'd still have the hard shoulders but instead they decided to push the technology a bit further and turn the hard shoulders into extra traffic lanes.

I've banged on about this before but when they ran some test stretches on the M42, with no hard shoulder but occasional safety refuges to pull into, they got good results for everything. The safety refuges were placed at distances apart of between 500 to 800 metres. Then, when the go ahead was given to roll out the conversion of hard shoulders into traffic lanes, with absolutely no discussion the distances between the refuges was virtually doubled at up to 1600 metres between refuges. I would dearly love to know the name of the faceless bureaucrat who made the change so that they could be pilloried in public as they so richly deserve.
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GiveMeABreak
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Re: Smart Motorways...paused

Post by GiveMeABreak »

I agree if everyone moved at a reasonable constant speed it should keep the traffic from bunching up and keep everyone moving. The only issue I see is at rush hour when the exits are blocked because of the roundabouts immediately off the motorways. If they had some additional flyovers on the congested areas so that traffic exiting the motorway could bypass the the roundabout and feed directly into the traffic on the main route into cities without having roundabouts with signalling I'm sure it would help. Just keep the roundabouts for local traffic.
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white exec
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Re: Smart Motorways...paused

Post by white exec »

The bad news is that over 100 miles of motorway are already being torn up to create already-approved all-lane running. The M6 in the West Midlands has lane closures which extend more than 20 miles, and which - in November at least - absolutely no-one was working on. My guess is that it could take another year (two?) for this to be completed . . . and for the worse!

Contrast that with how a complete new motorway intersection/junction has been created on the outskirts of Malaga, involving 4-lane sweeping access roads, bridges and interchanges. All this has involved just 2-3 months' of construction work, and is now fully open. UK highway construction firms (and carriageway repairers) seem to be under no incentive (penalty) for slow or late completion; ironically, some of them (eg Ferrovial) are the same firms that have built superb infrastructure across Spain, generally on time, on budget, and to a high standard. My understanding is that a good few of the highway maintenance companies - like the house-builders - are UK party donors, so no surprises there, again.
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Re: Smart Motorways...paused

Post by Gibbo2286 »

Smart motorways need smart drivers but unfortunately they are in a bit of short supply. :)
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Re: Smart Motorways...paused

Post by Gibbo2286 »

Chris, do the Spanish motorway builders have to contend with the 'environmentalists, greenies and bat and newt lovers like our lot do?

I read a report that to add an extra lane at a roundabout it took two years to get permission before they could even start then they had to protect a family of great crested newts, a later report said there were only six newts and the cost of moving them a couple of hundred yards amounted to thirty five grand each. :shock:
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white exec
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Re: Smart Motorways...paused

Post by white exec »

Fair point, Gibbo, the two countries are not directly comparable in terms of availability of open spaces, sparsely-inhabited area, etc. Emvironmental groups are active in Spain, and new roadways frequently come complete with small tunnels and culverts to allow movement of wildlife. The measures taken to route motorways through mountainous and outstandingly beautiful scenery are often staggeringly considerate and complex, with many of the old pathways and routes preserved as cycle and walkways. There is a while network of "via verde"s - old railway routes that have been converted into leisure pathways - just like UK.

What is impressive, through is the ability of local and central government to invest in, and complete, comprehensive infrastructure projects in a reasonable time period, dealing (like the French, I guess) with local displacement by means of effective and usually generous incentives to relocate. Better to do this than to spend 10-20 years in legal wrangling, only to find the cost of the proposed project has mushroomed. HS2 has to be a good example.
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Re: Smart Motorways...paused

Post by Sloppysod »

GiveMeABreak wrote:
13 Jan 2022, 12:27
I agree if everyone moved at a reasonable constant speed it should keep the traffic from bunching up and keep everyone moving...................
Exactly, these extra motorway lanes should have been rolled out with a fixed maximum speed enforced with average speed cameras accross the whole 4 lanes, 55mph as per the USA.!
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Re: Smart Motorways...paused

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Looks like the majority of drivers don't trust smart motorways to be smart, and many drive as if on a normal motorway because they don't believe them to be safe.

Smart motorways: Majority of motorists ignore hard shoulder when in use

More lanes on motorways, temporary or permanent, don't seem to be able to solve congestion problems, wonder if less cars might be worth a try.

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Re: Smart Motorways...paused

Post by Gibbo2286 »

How about making them double deckers, top carriageway going north bottom lane going south. :)

I'm sure I crossed a bridge somewhere with that layout.
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Re: Smart Motorways...paused

Post by NewcastleFalcon »

Gibbo2286 wrote:
16 Feb 2022, 13:39
How about making them double deckers, top carriageway going north bottom lane going south. :)

I'm sure I crossed a bridge somewhere with that layout.
Oakland Bay Bridge is an example in California and a major goof in "The Graduate" film as reported on IMDB...
When Ben is seen crossing the Oakland Bay Bridge on his way to Berkeley he is driving on the upper of the two decks of the Bridge which only carries traffic westbound from Oakland to San Francisco and thus would be taking him away from Berkeley. The only way to get to Berkeley by way of the Bay Bridge is to drive Eastbound, and all such traffic is carried only on the lower deck of the Bridge.
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Re: Smart Motorways...paused

Post by mickthemaverick »

Gibbo2286 wrote:
16 Feb 2022, 13:39
I'm sure I crossed a bridge somewhere with that layout.
The Dartford tunnel originally had 2 lanes each way in two tunnels. When they built the bridge now known as the Dartford Crossing they rearranged the traffic so we now have 4 lanes southbound over the bridge and 4 northbound under the tunnel. Strikes me as not very incident proof. If either bridge or tunnel is closed the entire traffic flow is blocked (although I do believe there are contingency plans to reroute) in one direction !! :-D
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Re: Smart Motorways...paused

Post by Paul-R »

The bridge is sometimes closed in high winds and I believe that then the southbound traffic reverts to its original tunnel.
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Re: Smart Motorways...paused

Post by Gibbo2286 »

That's the one I was thinking about Neil, The Oakland Bay Bridge, passed both ways a number of times on my visits to California, also did the Golden Gate Bridge a few times, that's one to put your nerves on edge.