This week has seen the initial Issue Specific Hearings and Open Floor Hearings as part of the examination of the proposed M4 smart motorway development consent order. Stephen Whale of Landmark Chambers, instructed by DLA Piper, is representing Highways England as applicant.
The proposal is to convert the M4 into a smart motorway along a 32 mile stretch between London and Theale (Junctions 3 to 12), which means relieving congestion by converting the hard shoulder into a running lane and using advanced technology to monitor traffic flow and vary mandatory speed limits. Instead of a hard shoulder, periodic emergency refuge areas are to be provided. The examination will conclude in March 2016. If development consent is granted, the smart motorway stretch is projected to open in 2022 at a cost of up to £862m.
Stephen represented the Highways Agency at both the A556 and A160/A180 development consent order examinations.