Signals across hundreds of miles of the M1, M4, M5 and M62 could not be changed prompting a “horrified” whistleblower at National Highways, the rebranded Highways England, to warn “someone is going to get killed”.
The insider told how the roads equivalent of air traffic control had repeatedly “gone down” last April, just as Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, announced the continued roll-out of smart motorways.
A Freedom of Information request to National Highways, the Government-owned company, shows two control centres covering Yorkshire, the North East and South West of England were hit by a computer “bug” and server problem disabling digital control of signs for a total of eight hours.
Dynac, the software used to set signs and signals, including the red X on overhead gantries which closes lanes in which motorists have broken down, was rendered “unusable”, according to documents.
Staff have nicknamed that software “Die Now”, amid fears in the midst of a system crash they would be unable to close a lane to prevent a stranded vehicle being hit by traffic.
However, it transpires that Dynac has not failed. Instead, two problems were found on the myriad high-tech systems running alongside it.
‘We are worried someone is going to get killed’
The source said: “We are worried someone is going to get killed. Control room staff are petrified because it feels like the whole system is a ticking time bomb.”
Read more: Deadly smart motorway systems dubbed ‘Die Now’ crashed three times in just four days creating a catastrophe waiting to happen (‘Smart motorways’ with the emergency lane deleted are being prepared for the Cult agenda of driverless vehicles and so no matter how dangerous they are the roll out continues)