Readers give M23 ‘smart motorway’ a thumbs down

Readers have been expressing their views on the opening of the completed ‘smart motorway’ on the M23 near Gatwick Airport - with many remaining unconvinced about the safety of the scheme.

Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 7:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 7:26 pm
The M23 scheme

Central to the creation of ‘smart motorways’ is the removal of the hard shoulder which is then converted to a new fourth traffic lane in each direction - boosting the road’s capacity by a third. Laybys are then inserted at intervals along the motorway for emergencies.

A spokesman for Highways England said cutting-edge technology will set the speed limit to match conditions, helps spot any queuing traffic, incidents or broken-down vehicles, and informs drivers about conditions ahead.

However our readers across West Sussex have been expressing their views about the scheme on our Facebook pages with the majority expressing concerns about its safety.

Here is a selection of your views:

Pauline Lague said: “It felt very scary to drive on the M23 without the safety net if the hard shoulder. Hardly any lay-bys. What happens if you break down between lay-bys. A petrifying thought!”

Paula Jane Cunningham said: “Can’t imagine what is smart about removing the hard shoulder and replacing with more cars and sporadic lay-bys, because as we know emergencies don’t always take into account intervals of a safe place to pull over.”

Dave Wilson said: “There is nothing GOOD about this project!!! Another catastrophic waste of money and increased danger to road users!!! An absolute waste of “public” money!!!

“Its a shame that the “public” didn’t get to vote if we should remove a vital piece of the motorway that serves to protect every motorist that uses the road... you can rest assured that this would not happen anywhere.

“More unnecessary deaths imminent...”

Gareth Huntley said: “Nothing ‘smart’ about a motorway without a hard shoulder. Death trap. Whoever conceived this idea has blood on their hands.”

Katie Kelly said: “Not so ‘smart’ without a hard shoulder!! So many avoidable accidents on these ‘smart’ motorways. Would rather my journey time be a little longer than risk breaking down too far from a refuge area!!!

Sarah Honey said: “Having had to pull into hard shoulder when my Mother lost consciousness in the car and wait for an ambulance, I really wouldn’t want to that without a hard shoulder. Very scary with one.”

Adrian Francis said: “Trouble is there is never a consultation with the general public who will actually use it and ask them if it’s a good idea or not, then realize it’s a waste of money.”

Garry Commins said: “What exactly good news is there about the fact that the schemes are so dangerous that the powers that be have shelved any more until they suss out how they can be made safe!!! 30+ deaths last year attributed to so called “smart” motorways that are designed by anyone but, and is once again so called progress on the cheap.”

Alan Room said: “£164 million could of been used to improve the motorway and not make it a grave yard.”

David Everett said: “The most stupid term you could use, they are not smart, they are dangerous and frightening if you have a breakdown.”

Mike Tunstall said: “£164 Million + 100000000hrs of wasted time. For what?”

Geoff Oborne said: “It’s an insane idea and already the government are stopping them being rolled out. Its an out of date idea that’s been shown to cause accidents. The £164m could have been better spent on road improvements rather than making the motorway more dangerous.”

Hannah Pring said: “The lay-bys are far too far apart. They’re not safe at all.”

Aida Burbuliene said: “Nobody cares what drivers think. Because if they did, “smart” death trap wouldn’t be there.”

Ronnie G Armstrong said: “Dumb idea. Unless you have broken down on a smart motorway you have no idea how dangerous and scary it is.”

Tony Gilbert said: “The real danger on the M23 is the appalling driving and now the speed limit is 70, those lane hoggers will undoubtedly cause an accident.”

Owen Wilson said: “Dangerous to say the least,from a breakdown point of view..If your vehicle breaks down and is unable to make it to a refuge area,your vehicle is likely to be rear ended with catastrophic results, with the ensuing traffic built up in all 4 lanes,how are the emergency services gonna get to you quickly without a hard shoulder?...Utter madness.”

Gary Green said: “Any delays over the last few years on this very short motorway have mainly been due to roadworks anyway. Should have spent the money improving the junction off the M25 from the east.”

Cathy Hannam said: “Many drivers will not use the inside lane and quite frankly I don’t blame them! I am not a fan of “ smart” motorways.”

Sue Coldwell said: “Dangerous death traps that I will only use if no other way. Have already experienced the fear of coming face to face with a broken down car at 60mph in 3rd lane of M3.”