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Safety changes just 2 weeks in to 'smart' motorway

The new orange refuge area on the M3 'smart' motorway Credit: Highways England

Safety changes have been made to the new smart motorway in Surrey and Hampshire less than two weeks after it opened.

Emergency refuges for drivers to stop on the M3 are being made more visible with new prominent signs and orange road surfaces.

The AA said it had serious safety concerns and welcomed the move but said it doesn't go far enough.

The hard shoulder has been turned into a running lane to ease congestion.

There is still a 50 mph limit because the electronic signs that will control the scheme are being tested.

Highways England say if the new style refuge is a success they will be put on other smart motorways on the M25 and others planned for the M4, M27 and M23 near Gatwick.

Jack Cousens, The AA

We know that smart motorways are safe. But we also recognise that drivers need to have confidence when using them and be clear about where they can stop in an emergency."

“That is why we are trialling these highly visible new style emergency areas. The bright orange colouring will make them as easy as possible to spot and should also discourage drivers from using them in non-emergency situations."

“This is just one of the ways we are helping drivers to understand smart motorways and their benefits. I hope it helps drivers feel more confident about using a smart motorway.”

– Jim O’Sullivan, CEO Highways England

Our roads are some of the safest in the world but we are always looking at making them safer."

"Smart motorways are adding extra lanes to our busiest motorways and – as recent evidence shows – reducing the rate of crashes."

"We are making emergency refuge areas more visible to ensure motorists in trouble can easily identify where to stop safely."

– Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary

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Drivers face more disruption as the M3 is to close over the weekend

Drivers face major disruption this weekend as the M3 is closed from this evening.

It's to allow for a bridge to be demolished between junctions two and three as part of smart motorway scheme to convert the hard shoulder into a running lane.

Drivers are being warned of more disruption as the M3 is closed overnight Credit: ITV News

The work was due to end next month but is now going to run another six months.

It comes as plans to upgrade the M4 will go ahead with work starting next March along with five years of chaos.

Critics say the schemes are not safe.

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Truck driver critical after crash

The driver of a tipper truck remains critically ill in hospital after the vehicle span off the M3 and hit a mile-marker post.

The 25-year-old was believed to have been travelling from his home in Bournemouth on the northbound carriageway near Basingstoke, when the accident happened.

No other vehicle was involved but the motorway was closed for six hours while police investigated what happened.

The driver was suffered a severe leg injury and was rushed to Southampton General Hospital where his condition is described as critical.

The van left the motorway and hit a mile marker post Credit: ITV Meridian

"Officers are appealing for drivers to contact them after a white Ford Transit Tipper left the M3 northbound carriageway between junctions 7 and 6 and collided with the mile marker post for junction 6 shortly after 19:10pm last night," said the spokesman.

"No other vehicles are believed to have been involved in a collision with the van but other motorists may be able to help establish exactly what happened.

"The driver, a 25 year-old man from Bournemouth, was taken to Southampton General Hospital by road with a serious leg injury. His condition today is described as critical but stable."

– Hampshire Police spokesperson

Long delays on M3 after multi-vehicle crash

Drivers were delayed for upto two hours on the M3 southbound Credit: ITV Meridian

Drivers suffered long delays during this morning's rush hour after a four car crash on the M3.

Emergency services were called to the southbound carriageway near junction 12 for Eastleigh.

No-one was seriously hurt but the collision caused delays of upto two hours and traffic problems on non motorway routes.

All lanes were reopened by 9.05am with delays down to 30 minutes.

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