In January the South West witnessed the launch of the region’s first ever smart motorway scheme, marking the end of a £88 million project to ease the traffic flow and improve safety over seven miles of motorway around the Almondsbury Interchange near Bristol.
The new scheme uses a range of technologies to manage congestion, by using variable speed limits and allowing drivers to use the hard shoulder as an extra lane during busy periods.
The various technologies also provide the Highways Agency and Emergency Services with a new set of tools for managing incidents. When incidents occur, the overhead signs can be used to: provide traffic information to road users; lanes can be signed as closed via a red X with white arrows direct traffic away from and past an incident; emergency services can be given an access route and safety zone; and if necessary, the system can facilitate a full emergency closure of the carriageway.
The Highways Agency is now seeking feedback on drivers’ experiences of using the new smart motorway - a survey is available to complete on the Highways Agency website until the end of March - Highways Agency’s website
Highways Agency senior project manager Paul Unwin said:
More than 140,000 vehicles use this stretch of the M4 and M5 every day and, after a two year period of residents and commuters patiently enduring road works and heavy construction, we are now keen to hear just how our road users are adjusting to the new system. I therefore urge drivers to take our online survey, so we can better understand the needs of road users for future projects.
Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000
Journalists should contact the Highways Agency press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer