Work on converting a stretch of the M3 route in the UK to Smart Motorway status with all-lane-running has now been stalled. A section of the M3 has already been converted to Smart Motorway operation, with four lanes in either direction and no hard shoulder between Junction 2 (with the M25) and Junction 4a.
The plans had called for a further 16km section of the M3 to be converted to Smart Motorway status between Junction 9 and Junction 14. The section of the M3 between Junction 9 and Junction 14 suffers heavy congestion at times and can result in long delays for drivers.
The project was to have been carried out by contractor Balfour Beatty for National Highways in a package of works worth £140 million. However, this has now been stalled as the UK Government is planning to investigate the safety of Smart Motorway schemes.
A report into the safety of the UK’s motorways showed that these are the safest of all UK roads. But there have been concerns over a number of crashes on Smart Motorways featuring all-lane-running and accounts of defective CCTV systems or refuge areas that are spaced further apart than originally mandated. This has prompted the further roll out of Smart Motorways to be halted.