The concept of a smart motorway dates back to 2006 when the techniques were first trialled. Fast forward ten years and we’re seeing new government planning to extend the scheme across much of the UK.
Specifically, the removal of motorway hard shoulders; transforming them into running lanes.
Despite criticisms over safety, smart motorways have had the go-ahead with the proposed aim to “increase capacity, improve traffic flow and reduce journey times”. Both “dynamic” and “all lane” types of smart motorway will see traffic now occupying the existing hard shoulders, with variable speed limits enforced.
In some cases it’s a matter of building new hard shoulders to increase a motorway’s capacity, in others there are plans to expand the hard shoulders already there, which at present tend to be around 3.3m wide.
In any of those scenarios, we say smart motorways need “eco”-hard shoulders – only made possible with EcoGrid!
How would we do it? By using high-strength EcoGrid E50 permeable paving, perfect to withstand the weight and grind of regular traffic – lorries included – withstanding a load of up to 800 tonnes/sqm.
Clipped to the E50 base would be our unique curving pieces up the embankment of the motorway hard shoulder and allowing for the creation of a continuous curve. For the look, a wildflower fill on the embankment.
The perks of “Eco”-hard shoulders using the world renowned EcoGrid:
⅓ the closure time
½ the installation time
½ the cost of excavation
½ the cost of materials
…and “1000%” the aesthetics!
EcoGrid’s UV stable porous grids are easy to install (as much as 100 square metres per hour, per person) thanks to their patented interlocking connection system and once installed stay virtually maintenance free. You can drive directly over them without issue, they can be relocated (“lift and relay”) for use on numerous sites, and we back up our claims with a 20 year guarantee!
Frankly, it’s the only option if you’re being “smart” about motorway hard shoulders and many other landscaping applications requiring a fully permeable, free draining and load bearing base.