NEW: M25 debuts ‘Smart Motorways’
Motorists must learn to understand how the first M25 ‘Smart Motorway’ will affect their driving, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) have urged.
The new-style road opened on Monday, with the Highways Agency hoping the programme will help improve journeys and boost the UK economy.
It affects the sections between junctions 23 and 25 in Hertfordshire, and between junctions 5 and 6/7 on the Kent/Surrey border.
Spanning 20miles, the ‘Smart Motorway’ sees the hard shoulder converted for traffic to be used as a normal running lane to increase capacity.
However, the FTA are concerned motorists may not be aware of the how these changes will affect their driving.
“The changes that have been made are quite significant, so drivers must become familiar with the types of new signs and signals they will see.”
Malcolm Bingham, FTA
Malcolm Bingham, Head of Road Network Management Policy at the FTA, said: “With the opening of the two stretches of the M25 Smart Motorway, FTA is concerned that motorists need to fully understand how these stretches of road will work.
“The changes that have been made are quite significant, so drivers must become familiar with the types of new signs and signals they will see and what they should do in the event of a breakdown.
“Whilst any improvements to make journey times more reliable are always good news, FTA is saying that drivers need to make themselves aware of the changes to the road.
“The Highways Agency has produced an information leaflet on the new ‘Smart Motorway’ operation, and the Association is urging fleet operators and their drivers to look to the advice provided and ensure that they are as smart in the use or the road as the technology is on these new sections.”
John Martin, Senior Project Manager at the Highways Agency, added: “Around £1.7billion is being invested into roads in the South East by 2021 with 145 new lane miles of capacity added.
“Most of the work to improve journeys on these stretches in Hertfordshire and Kent/Surrey is complete and we are now testing the new technology.
“Soon the smart motorway will be complete and we are now asking drivers to get smart and find out more about how to use it, the types of signs and signals they will see and what to do in the event of a breakdown.”