Smart motorways scrapped – every cancelled project


Construction of fourteen new Smart motorways has been scrapped due to safety concerns and costs. 

£1.3bn worth of highways

Eleven schemes already paused and three more earmarked for construction during the third Road Investment Strategy (2025-2030) will be removed from government road-building plans, said the Department for Transport (DfT). 

It is understood existing Smart motorways will remain but be subject to safety refits for more emergency service areas. 

Smart motorways were introduced in England in 2014. 

Their purpose is to manage the flow of traffic and ease congestion, including converting the hard shoulder to a live lane when necessary. 

Axing the programme was due to “financial pressures” and a “lack of public confidence felt by drivers” in the technology, including fatalities where drivers are hit from behind when forced to stop in a live lane with no hard shoulder. 

It is understood around 10 per cent of England’s motorway network has Smart technology.  

All cancelled projects  

Three earmarked schemes 

  • M1 North Leicestershire 
  • M1 Junction 35A to 39 
  • M6 Junction 19 to 21A  

Eleven paused 

  • M3 Junction 9 to 14 
  • M40/M42 interchange 
  • M62 Junction 20 to 25 
  • M25 Junction 10 to 16 
  • M1 Junction 10 to 13 
  • M4 Junction 19 to 20 and M5 Junction 15 to 17 
  • M6 Junction 4 to 5 
  • M6 Junction 5 to 8 
  • M6 Junction 8 to 10a 
  • M42 Junction 3a to 7 
  • M62 Junction 25 to 30 

In 2019 the government announced 400 miles of Smart motorways across England by 2025. 

Then in 2022 Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged to scrap them entirely. 

Construction Wave contacted several firms involved in highways construction for reaction. 

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