First part of controversial M4 smart motorway to open in Berkshire

  • Video report from ITV News Meridian's Heather Edwards

Highways England plan to open the first part of the controversial new smart motorway on the M4 in Berkshire next month. 

The first phase will be the section between Maidenhead and Theale.

The new section of the smart motorway due to open next month Credit: ITV News Meridian

It comes amid growing criticism and calls to scrap the schemes following a number of fatal accidents on smart motorways.

Claire Mercer lost her husband Jason on a smart motorway, saying "Where Jason was killed they took away the hard shoulder and the coroner, the police investigator and the collision investigator all said Jason wouldn't have been dead if there was a hard shoulder".

On the new section of the M4 there will not be a hard shoulder but there will be refuges every mile in case you break down.

Highways England say that smart motorways generally are as safe as conventional motorways however also say that in future projects there will be a smaller distance between refuges.