Doubts over new £283m smart motorway scheme on the M62 through Calderdale

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Questions have been raised over whether a smart motorway scheme will be delivered on the M62 between junction 20 and 25.

The roll-out of smart motorways should be stopped immediately to address significant safety concerns, according to a parliamentary group.

MPs have accused the Government and Highways England of behaving with a “shocking degree of carelessness” over the introduction of the controversial road system, claiming commitments to improve safety have been abandoned or watered-down.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Read More
Consultation opens on £283m M62 smart motorway scheme between junction 20 and 25
View of the M62 from Scammonden BridgeView of the M62 from Scammonden Bridge
View of the M62 from Scammonden Bridge

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Roadside Rescue and Recovery has said that a lack of action on emergency refuge areas (ERA) and stopped vehicle detection technology is putting motorists in danger, and has questioned the safety record of the roads

A consultation was held in September 2019 over plans for a smart motorway system on the M62 between junction 20 and 25 at Brighouse.

The cost of the scheme is £283.2 million but could rise as high as £392.3 million.

However comments by the transport Secretary Grant Shapps has cast some doubt over the scheme.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Shapps has said the Government is now taking time to carry out an evidence-based stock-take on the safety of smart motorways “to get a much better outcome”.

Shadow Transport Minister Karl Turner called on Mr Shapps to “act now” and scrap “death trap” all lane running motorways.

Smart motorways have been criticised because they do not have a hard shoulder and drivers who break down can be trapped in the speeding traffic.

Mr Turner said that on a 16-mile stretch of the M1, five people have been killed in just 10 months. They include Jason Mercer, 44, of Rotherham, and Alexandru Murgeanu, 22, of Mansfield, who died last June. Mr Mercer’s widow Claire is now taking legal action.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Turner added: “The Secretary of State has the power to scrap these dangerous motorways now, so will he stop this dither and delay, act now to avoid further tragic deaths and serious injuries.” Mr Shapps replied: “I think it is very important that we gather all the facts. Sadly 1,700-plus people died in 2018 on all of our roads.

“Motorways are the safest of those roads and the question is are smart motorways less safe than the rest of the motorway network. For me, the answer is we must make them at least as safe, if not safer, otherwise they can’t continue.”

The M62 junction 20 to 25 smart motorway proposal is approximately 19 miles long, running through a rural Pennine landscape that contains the highest point on a motorway in England.

A Highways England spokesperson said: "Any death on our roads is one too many, and our deepest sympathies remain with the family and friends of those who lost their lives.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"The Transport Secretary has asked the Department for Transport to carry out, at pace, an evidence stocktake to gather the facts about smart motorway safety. We are committed to safety and are supporting the Department in its work on this"