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New smart motorways cancelled

19 Apr 2023

New smart motorways – including the 11 already paused from the second Road Investment Strategy (2020 to 2025) and the 3 earmarked for construction during the third Road Investment Strategy (2025 to 2030) – will be removed from government road-building plans, given financial pressures and in recognition of the current lack of public confidence felt by drivers.

Initial estimations suggest constructing future smart motorway schemes would have cost more than £1 billion and cancelling these schemes will allow more time to track public confidence in smart motorways over a longer period.

The government and National Highways continue to invest £900 million in further safety improvements on existing smart motorways.

This includes progressing plans on installing 150 extra emergency areas across the network in line with the commitments made in response to the Transport Select Committee, as well as further improving the performance of stopped vehicle detection technology on every all lane running smart motorway.

The government will also continue to give motorists clear advice when using existing smart motorways.

While no new stretches of road will be converted into smart motorways, the M56 J6-8 and M6 J21a-26 will be completed given they are already over three quarters constructed.