Motorway ‘all lane running’ schemes that open the hard shoulder to moving traffic have been subject to heavy criticism from the Transport Select Committee.
At the top of the committee’s list of concerns is the safety of motorists who break down and would normally use the hard shoulder as a refuge from motorway traffic.
The committee views the scheme as a cost-cutting measure, but says: “The Department for Transport (DfT) should not proceed with a major motorway programme on the basis of cost savings while major safety concerns continue to exist.”
As part of the ‘smart motorways’ upgrade, the aim of the scheme is to reduce congestion on the increasingly strained road network, by providing a fourth lane in place of the hard shoulder.
Criticisms were also raised about other effects of the plans, with MPs asking where emergency vehicles would go when congestion would otherwise prevent them from getting through.