Recent Drastic Closures of M1 and M3 Motorways Prompt Transport Group to Call for Reviews

Transport Focus, a watchdog for the UK’s transport system, has called for urgent reviews of the system regarding informing drivers and looking after them after suspected terror episodes or incidents recently closed down two major motorways, the M1 and the M3. 

What happens to the motorists when motorways are unexpectedly closed?

What happens to the motorists when motorways are unexpectedly closed?

Transport Focus call for more comprehensive, organised action 

The statement by Transport Focus, as stated in a blog post by the group’s chief executive Anthony Smith, follows the two events or incidents, which both happened in a single week – the sudden closure of the M1 and the closure of the M3, with both motorways remaining closed for several hours, which left drivers and road users trapped and stuck on the road.  

In Mr. Smith’s blog post, he stated that both the police and Highways England have certain questions and concerns to answer regarding how events like these have been dealt with. Since the latest episode, which occurred on Saturday 23rd September, when the M3 was closed and impassable for almost half a day due to potentially dangerous or hazardous materials, Mr. Smith added that Highways England, the police, and the local authority had a ‘duty of care’ to road users who were trapped in the area. The road closure on Saturday closely followed the closure on Tuesday along the M1.

According to Mr. Smith, whilst it’s important to take potential incidents of terror very seriously, especially with today’s security concerns, urgent reviews are also needed to enhance the welfare procedures and arrangements as well as the dissemination of information to motorists. Mr. Smith adds that winter is arriving, and incidents like these may occur with more frequency, so action is necessary to help all motorists and road users.

Highways England’s response to the incidents 

Highways England’s customer service director, Mel Clarke, stated, however, that they worked to the best of their ability, especially last Saturday, in order to give motorists accurate and updated information about the M3. A diversion was set up as soon as the closure was underway, and signals and signs were distributed across the network to let approaching motorists know about the incident, and all this was already in place by 5 a.m. in the morning.   

According to Mel Clarke, some motorists were already on the M3 during the incident, and they were then trapped between the scene of the incident and the last exit which was available. Highways England worked doubly hard to escort the motorists back through the motorway in order for them to go through the previous motorway exit, and all traffic which was trapped was cleared before 6 a.m. in the morning. 

Posted on 23 Oct 2017 in News

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