LETTERS: Readers speak about safety of smart motorways

SIR: Well done to Simon Juniper for telling the truth about “smart” motorways (Chronicle, November 11). They are a terrible idea and quite obviously extremely dangerous. It’s a simple fact that if you break down and there is a hard shoulder, you can get out of the way of other vehicles.

If there’s no hard shoulder, there’s a period before the overhead warning signs come on when accidents are inevitable. The emergency lay-bys are far too far apart to be useful. We had proof of this just recently.

We were on the so-called “smart” section of the M3 heading towards London, when the car in front of us broke down and slowed to a halt. Behind us was a huge truck and to our right in the central lane were several other large lorries. It was only because my wife is an expert and highly alert driver that she was able to get over into the centre between the lorries and avoid both us and the broken-down car being smashed into, causing certain injury and probable death.

I haven’t come across anybody who thinks that smart motorways are a good idea. Presumably they are viewed as a way to ease traffic congestion cheaply, but they aren’t that cheap. Here in Winchester they are just starting a huge so-called “upgrade” to smart motorway on the M3.

It’s costing more than GBP130 million. The first thing they have done is completely destroy many acres of meadowland in order to create a compound for the workers’ equipment. It will take years to complete, causing major delays and disruption yet, as Simon Juniper says, the experts have long since concluded that the “smart” policy is mistaken and fraught with danger.

Why is the government persisting with it? I don’t understand. Oliver Gray,

Finches Lane, Twyford SIR: Thank you to Simon Lever for his letter (Chronicle, November 11), entitled ‘Smart’ M3.

We have been trying to make our collective voice heard on this issue for so long now. How is it that, despite evidence clearly explaining why ‘smart’ motorways are a proven danger to life, National Highways are permitted to carry on regardless with further Smart Motorway development? This proven danger to life was the subject of a Panorama documentary in February 2020, entitled ‘Britain’s Killer Motorways?’.

It was also the subject of my letter to this page March 5, 2020. For how much longer are we going to be ignored by National Highways, Highways Britain, and by the Government of this country? Sheena Smith,

Northbrook Avenue,

St Giles Hill,

Winchester