‘A lethal section of smart motorway was made less safe because those in charge refused to install extra refuge areas, a damning report highlights.
Road bosses made the decision due to a potential 2 per cent increase in overall cost to implement it, the document exposed by the AA shows.
The document, produced by Highways Agency – which has since become Highways England – in December 2012, assessed the need for closer spaced and elongated refuge areas on the M1 between junction 32 and 35a.
The analysis of the section of all-lane running smart motorway – where the hard shoulder had been removed – said the inclusion of more lay-bys would have led to ‘potentially significant increases in costs’ when the ‘primary goals’ was ‘not improving safety’ but to ‘ensure that the scheme is no less safe than the safety baseline’.
Two people have since been killed on that very section of smart motorway due to being unable to reach a refuge area and having no hard shoulder available.
The AA blasted the report, saying the targets set were ‘unambitious and complacent when it comes to the crucial safety of the motorway’.
The ten-mile stretch in South Yorkshire has recently been intensely scrutinised following the death of two motorists in June 2019.’