No plans for smart motorway developments on M5

Published: 22 August 2019

No plans for smart motorway developments on M5
Highways England have gone on record to say that there are at this point in time no plans to allow drivers to use the hard shoulder of the M5 in an effort to reduce traffic between Somerset or Sedgemoor.

Along parts the M5, “smart” technology means that drivers can use the hard shoulder as an extra lane which will stop hold-ups and keep cars on the roads moving along. Around Somerset, Highways England has decided against going ahead with plans to add this option for drivers around the area.

Smart motorways have various required speed limits, with the hard shoulder in use to cause less hold-ups when congestion starts to build on the roads. Speaking on the matter, Rebecca Edmond stated: 
“There are no current plans to introduce a smart motorway to the Sedgemoor section of the M5. We are, though, finalising designs to bring more technological benefits to drivers between junction 23 (Bridgwater and Highbridge) and junction 25 (Taunton), a part of the motorway which currently suffers from delays."

In Sedgemoor, a transport strategy document was released, outlining the councils upcoming plans for development on the roads up until 2050, the documents included “improvements to address existing and future congestion and resilience issues along the M5 motorway”.

Elaborating further: “The Council will also promote smart motorways proposals on the M5 which would use digital technology to better monitor traffic levels and implement hard shoulder running, variable speed limits, or even close lanes remotely via gantry signage if accidents have occurred.”

“The District will be seeking full implementation of smart motorway infrastructure along the M5 corridor,”
Highways England are adding driver information and queue protection schemes from junction 17 to 18 – as well as an additional scheme planning to be introduced between junctions 23 and 25 later in 2019. A spokesman said: “The scheme will give our South West Regional Operations Centre greater visibility of this area of the network and it means we’ll be able to better detect incidents and then let drivers know so they can make informed choices about their journeys.”
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