John Hayes, the new roads minister, yesterday (4 Sept) conducted a 26-mile tour of major motorways in the West Midlands in order to understand the challenges posed by one of the busiest parts of England’s motorway network.
John Hayes, who was appointed minister of state at the Department for Transport in July 2014, accompanied Highways Agency traffic officers along sections of the M42, M6 and M5 where the development of ‘smart’ motorways was pioneered.
The ‘smart’ motorway concept, under which the hard shoulder is used as a running lane to boost capacity and cut congestion, was piloted on the M42 and has since been extended across the country.
John Hayes said: “It is genuinely inspiring to see what a difference smarter roads can make.
“Millions of road users will experience better journeys with much reduced congestion, which is estimated to cost over £2bn every year.
“I was also hugely impressed with the dedication and expertise of the people behind the scenes in the (Highways Agency) national control room, whose efforts make better roads and safer journeys for all road users.”