Muir calls for “Smart” Motorways to be taken off the table

Andrew Muir Roads Infrastructure

Alliance Infrastructure Spokesperson, Andrew Muir MLA, has called for the Department for Infrastructure to formally scrap plans for building Smart motorways in Northern Ireland.

In an “all-lane smart motorway”, the hard shoulder is converted into a live-lane and replaced by refuge points or laybys spaced out alongside the motorway. Smart motorways already exist in England, and have been linked to 38 deaths in the past five years. The rollout of additional smart motorways was halted by the Transport Secretary in January pending a safety review. In Northern Ireland, the Department for Infrastructure has put in a funding bid of £500m for a smart motorway on the M1 in 2021/22.

Mr Muir said: “It is concerning that in spite of all the very public safety concerns regarding so-called “smart” motorways, the Department for Infrastructure has still put a bid in to develop such a motorway in Northern Ireland. There are huge issues with smart motorways, and tragically this has led to dozens of fatalities in England”.

“Smart motorways should be taken off the table completely by the Department for Infrastructure. We need to ensure that our motorways are as safe as they possibly can be, and it is clear that smart motorways do not meet that test. The public would be reassured were the Minister to confirm that these plans for the M1 have been scrapped entirely.”