A CONSULTATION on the proposed Lower Thames Crossing is just days from closing, but concerns have been raised on the use of “smart” technology for the new motorway.

A freedom of information request submitted to Highways England by the Thames Crossing Action Group showed there are forecast to be 2,147 additional accidents over 60 years, including 26 fatalities, 220 serious injuries and 3,122 slight injuries due to the project.

So-called “smart” motorways allow use of the hard shoulder during busy times but motorists can be left in a “live lane” if they breakdown.

Electronic lane closure signs meant to divert traffic in such cases are sometimes ignored by other drivers resulting in collisions.

Campaigners fear the technology will contribute to accidents on the £8.2billion project and highlight the system has been blamed for a string of fatalities across the country.

The project will see the construction of two 2.5mile tunnels under the Thames which will connect Kent and Thurrock and provide an alternative route for Dartford Crossing and Blackwall Tunnel.

In a written submission to the Government’s Transport Committee’s ‘smart’ motorways public inquiry, Laura Blake, chairman of the Thames Crossing Action said: “We feel very strongly ‘smart’ motorways are extremely dangerous, and we as members of the public have serious concerns about them.

“Whilst Highways England have gone from referring to Lower Thames Crossing as a motorway, to now referring to it as an all-purpose trunk road, they have still stated that it would be designed to ‘smart’ motorway standards.

"It is not just in relation to Lower Thames Crossing that we have concerns as a group, as members of the public we have serious concerns about just how dangerous ‘smart’ motorways are in general.”

Ms Blake added: “We feel it important that we submit the evidence and opinions we have in the hope it will help with the inquiry.”

Highways England and the UK Government have repeatedly insisted that mile-for-mile smart motorways, which operate without a hard shoulder, are safer than conventional motorways.