Did We Just Win The War on Smart Motorways?!

Dear All,

Like many people, I’ve been living under a rock for the past few months during “lockdown”.

I haven’t ventured on to any motorways because …well… there was nowhere to go!

So you can imagine my utter confusion when we went to visit the in-laws for the first time in months yesterday and the “smart” motorway on the M20 was …GONE!

It was just no longer there!

You know that feeling of being bemused — when something doesn’t quite compute and you start to wonder if you’ve lost the plot?

We’ll that was me yesterday :-) I kept saying to my Mrs “have I gone mad, or have they just got rid of the smart motorway during lockdown?!”.

I was genuinely shocked, so I called my Dad — who unlike me watches the mainstream news — and he said “oh yeah, didn’t you know? They are taking them all down because they’ve been found to be dangerous…”

My jaw dropped.

We’d written an article back in October last year (here) hinting that the Government were looking at potentially getting rid of Smart Motorways, but I guess I didn’t believe it would happen…

So, are we *finally* winning the war on the “smart” motorway scam?

Or have we already won it and I just didn’t realise because of “lockdown”?

…and if we’ve won — or are winning — I wonder if that’s the reason for the sudden increase in mobile speed traps that Members have been reporting all over the UK in the last few weeks?

Please let everyone know what you’re seeing in your part of the country in the comments below!

All the best,

P.S. We’re hoping to announce the pre-launch date for TALEX 3 this week! Keep your eyes peeled :-)

Comments 46

  1. Good riddance to the wrong answer.

    Any motorway without a hard shoulder should just be “boycotted by the users” – simply avoid the most left-hand lane as that is where the accidents are guaranteed to happen with stationary vehicles being rear-ended.
    Just remember – we are the Customer and we fund all this nonsense

    1. smart motorways speed up traffic flow but are lethal if a vehicle should break down
      It would have been preferable if the motorway had been built properly in the 1st place allowing for the high density of vehicles in the uk
      the M5 was built as a 2 lane motorway with trucks allowed in the second lane as per a dual carriage way. The cost of adding a 3rd lane was more expensive than if it had been fit for purpose

  2. Lucky old you! They are still building the “Smart” bit of the M4 between junctions 8-13, with a 50mph limit!

  3. and by the way, there is nothing “SMART” about it – it’s a cheapskate attempt at capacity enhancement that is then just dependent on technology which has been proven flawed.

  4. Don’t think so – they’re still closing the M23 at nights to complete conversion to smart motorway with all the extra gantries.

    This from their email on Friday:

    Monday to Friday 07:00 to 19:00 daily for 12 weeks

    Full closure of J10 exit slip Northbound. Diversion to J9 and back southbound to Junction 10.

    Monday 8 to Friday 12 June (inclusive) 20:00 to 06:00

    Full closure J10 to J8 Northbound

    Diversion for M25 via J10 M23, A264 Copthorne Road, A22 and join at J6 M25.

    Full closure of the Gatwick Spur Eastbound

    Diversion via Airport Way, A23 London Road, A2011 Crawley Avenue and join M23 at

    Full closure of the Gatwick Spur Westbound

    Diversion for Gatwick, traffic continues on to M23 J10 then A2011 Crawley Avenue, A23
    London Road, Airport Way.

    Full closure of J9 exit slip Southbound (Gatwick Spur)

    Diversion to J10 M23 and follow the Gatwick Airport diversion.

    Monday 8 to Wednesday 10 June (inclusive) 20:00 to 06:00

    Full closure of the Godstone to Crawley Link

    Diversion to M25 J8, back to J6 and follow A22 diversion to M23 J10.

  5. Lets hope this is just the start of all being removed.
    They were never Smart..They are Dangerous !

  6. I am very happy they have gone for good I hope anywhere they are .
    Well done to all of us .
    Perry Hatcher

    1. I didn’t think for a moment that the first death reported on these smart motorways they would continue with putting death traps around the country

  7. I drove along the M4 yesterday. That horrendously long 50mph stretch from J12, Theale, beyond Reading past Slough to J3 is still In its full glory “preparing for your digital future”. It has been there for years, with lots of beautiful yellow cameras. I had read that digital motorways have been stopped, but not on M4 apparently.

  8. I think smart motor ways are extremely dangerous and should be named killer ways and if we had decent justice in this country whoever authorises them would on someone’s death be charged with manslaughter.If our leaders were answerable for there actions more care would be taken

  9. we may have won this battle here but I fear we have lost the war as roads are to be closed to cars all over England
    to make way for cycle ways and foot paths are being made wider. with a £2billion to start and a further £3billion
    and more to come.

  10. That section of the M20 was a temporary measure put in place for ‘Brexit’ purposes. So no win this time, but keep the fight going against this madness!

    1. The only section of the M20 designated smart were junctions3 to 5.TheBrexit section was 8 to 9.

  11. Keith
    Still surrounded by these deathtraps in the Northwest M56, M62, and M6 corridor – Get rid Mr Shapps MP like SHNAPPY.

  12. Best news I’ve heard all year, I hope the guy that dreamed that idea up has had a brain transplant….

  13. If the government spent money on our infrastructure instead of wasting it on other unnecessary schemes there woudl be no need for these “smart” sections.

  14. Smart motorways are very good as they give another free flowing lane of traffic which reduces congestion.

  15. No we haven’t won the SMART motorway war – they are still turning the M23 into a Smart Death Road and the M25 still has “STUPID” no hard shoulder and the M27 Chichester – Southampton is still being converted into a Stupid Motorway — Who coined the word SMART – the idea was and still is STUPID.

  16. I haven’t driven my car since 31st March when I declared SORN so I can’t really comment on the smart motorways. I never liked the idea of losing the hard shoulder, it was put there for good reasons and those reasons still apply today. I am looking forward to learning more about the new Talex 3.

  17. Ha! Ha! I doubt it. The “blob” just loves this sort of stupidity. Despite being so risk averse elsewhere they continue to ignore the evidence that no hard shoulder is a sure fire recipe for catastrophic accidents. Why can’t they see this ??

  18. Sadly not. They are still pushing on with the M4 and the latest survey from Ipsos on behalf of the Highways Agency or whatever they are calling themselves this week, is all about a pocket guide to what to do if you break down on a so-called smart motorway. Utterly ridiculous of course, as you will be killed by a lorry before you can get out of the car, let alone read a pocket guide.

  19. I hope all so called smart motorways disappear! Nothing smart about them and I’ll conceived death traps should you have the misfortune to break down. How could any sane person not realise and actually green light them ???? Unbelievable and people need sacking!

  20. I really do hope they stop building them and get rid of those they’ve already installed.
    I go up & down the M6 between Liverpool & Stoke to visit relatives, and it was a nightmare for well over a year as they were installing it, having rolling restrictions for something up to 20 miles at a time, and last time I was going down, they were moving to another section.
    Any way, whenever I’m on a section of “Smart” Motorway, I will never, ever use the inside lane, nor the second lane if I can avoid it, because of the dangers of a broken down car not only completely blocking the inside lane, but the possibility of vehicles suddenly changing lane to the second one to avoid it.
    With “Smart” Motorways, they’ve effectively made any that I travel along into a 2-Lane Motorway to maximise my own safety.

  21. The Police were always against Smart motorways from their very inception. It is obvious they were going to be death traps. How were emergency services going to reach the scene of a collision when the road was completely blocked by stationary traffic and there was no hard shoulder. We had 5 years of misery on the M3 when there was 14 miles of road works for the Smart motorway system. Hopefully they will start to do something about all the other sections of motorway which are currently still with the highly dangerous Smart motorway, as there was never anything Smart about it, and to reduce any further needless deaths because of them.

  22. I cant tell you regards m62 because for reasons like yourself there has been know where to go but, you may be getting a trial without them to see what difference it makes and by the looks of some of the comments this ma
    y be the case before rolling it out further or, re-installing it where you are ,time will tell. one things for sure it wants getting rid of everywhere.
    I am wondering also if as reported by some of your followers regards the increasing levels of mobile speed cameras if that is more to do with higher levels of speeding due to the roads being quieter due to the lockdown.
    Like everyone else, I know there are some idiots on the road these days but the amount of abuse heaped on motorists these days by police ,government and local authoritys for just about everything is bonkers. Its suppression they don’t want to driving but like taking your money

  23. Only one problem , without the use of the hard shoulder they will be even more congestion as the 3 lanes are not copeing

  24. We will end up with the worst of both worlds, the hard shoulders will be put back but the gantries with all that goes with them, speed restrictions and camera’s, will remain. I wouldn’t call that winning the war.

  25. Not noticed a reduction in Smart Mways, turn off them when I come across them. Dangerous.
    The increase in speed traps is probably due to the Police having a huge reduction in RTAs and little to do other than trying to catch drivers out. The fact that there have been fewer accidents despite people going “too fast” does not strike the powers that be as connected in any way. They have yet to realise that experienced drivers going a bit quickly when conditions allow isn’t dangerous.
    All the best

  26. I Hope the Hard Shoulder Comes Back to every Motorway across the country.
    I rather not use a Motorways with no Hard Shoulder or have a longer journey then loose the hard shoulder.
    I have already stopped using the M23.
    I have broken down several times across 30 years of driving including once in Fog at Night and So So glad for that Hard Shoulder.

    My Van side door on my VW Transporter 19 Plate came open on a Main Road due to VW not having a fail safe on their door locks. I needed to pull over to stop items falling out.
    Can’t do that on a smart motorway or pull over as your child is choking on something without no Hard Shoulder without great Risk of being Killed.
    Having too exit the vehicle Dukes of Hazzard style through the passenger window or do you open your Driver door onto a live lane is just not in the Highway Code yet!

    Manslaughter who decided to take the hard shoulder away. Smart Motorways are there for Money Saving and making money.

    Hope the AA, RAC etc all refuse to attend breakdowns of vehicles on Smart Motorways with no hard shoulders and let the Police tow them off to a safe area.

    Please watch the below Program.


    We need to get rid of Lane Hoggers and that would give us a lot more flow rate of Traffic on the Motorways. They raise some money if Camera could pick these people up.

    1. Absolutely agree about lane-hoggers. They’re a menace and should be rigorously caught and fined. My pet hate !

  27. I’m sure that they will only be getting rid of the live left hand lane, not all the cameras. These motorways are being prepared for the day that they can remotely control the speed of your car!

  28. I travelled on the M25 (J6 to J12) and then on the M3 southbound last week. Smart motorways still very much in operation and some serious speeding – 100+ mph!

  29. They’re still working on the m62 Warrington to Manchester
    They’re still using the m6 j16 to j19 at the moment and also my j24 to j34 but my j25 to j28 has got a hard shoulder so it’s not too bad but there has been quite a few accidents above j28

  30. Haven’t heard anything on the mainstream News Channels!!
    And Yes still working on M4 !!

  31. I agree with all the comments made there is nothing smart about them they are an accident waiting to happen. mick

  32. Wishful thinking I’m afraid. A quick look at the Highways Agency website shows:
    6 Planned
    6 Currently being installed
    5 completed

    We all know the safety improvement was argued with faulty logic and convenient statistics . Ie there are less deaths on the hard shoulder of a smart motorway…….
    Well there’s no flippin hard shoulder, therefore there cannot be any deaths on something that does not exist!

    Lets hope Adam wasn’t mistaken or hallucinating at the joy of being released from the lockdown..

  33. But aren’t they just because of the prats who are driving along in the left hand lane too fast or stupid to be able to react to what appears in front of them? Or – more likely – not paying attention, probably beacuse they’re texting? These people should just have their licences taken away, no ifs, no buts.

  34. My understanding is that if there’s been 3 accident in one area then they put up a speed camera.
    So if there’s an accident on what we know as a hard shoulder then they should remove it for a good 250 miles. Or for every accident on the smart motorway they remove 250 speed cameras.
    Not that I’m encouraging speeding.
    I’ve just had another thought for every part we have the smart motorway. We get to do 80mph.

  35. We know the value of nothing while on lockdown the count of crashes at the same hot spots . Where are the black spot signs stating no lane changing at these invited to crash here ?

    All the time some are getting very rich on crashes happen and a nice shiny new car drops out of the sky to replace their old banger ie needing it’s first service at a 4 figure sum £1000 for some car batteries .

    £1440 One LED head light £120 rear light 12volt to LED needed less than 5 V .

    Who the higher value to doctor going to work or day tripper ?

  36. No such luck here as they’re still continuing with the M27. In fact, it’s closed all this weekend due to ongoing works. I, for one, won’t be using it once it’s ‘smart’.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.