Green Light For More Smart Motorway SchemesWed, 09 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0700
THE Government has announced plans to speed up journey times on selected parts of the nation’s motorway network.
As a result, work will start to convert the hard shoulder into a running lane on two sections of the M1 and on a stretch of the M3.
The M1 work will be between junctions 28 and 31 in Derbyshire and between junctions 32 and 35a in South Yorkshire, with claims that it will boost capacity by up to a third and improve journey times by up to 10%.
The M3 work is at junctions 2 to 4a in Surrey and boost capacity by up to a third, while improving journey times by up to 10%.
Work is expected to start on the M1 this autumn, with the M3 project scheduled to open in 2016.
Another announcement that’s likely to please drivers is the news that plans to reduce speeds to 60mph at the chosen sites have been scraped.
The Highways Agency previously consulted on proposals to limit speeds to 60mph between 7am and 7pm seven days a week because of the potential effect of the new schemes - known as smart motorways - on local air quality.
However, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has rejected this approach and has asked the Highways Agency to investigate alternative solutions.
Commenting on the improvement schemes, Mr McLoughlin said: "Let me be absolutely clear, I want all motorways to run at 70mph. While it sometimes makes sense to use variable limits to keep people moving, blanket reductions are not acceptable.
"Smart motorways are an effective and cost-efficient way of increasing space on our roads, cutting jams and speeding up journey times and I am pleased to announce the start of work on these schemes."
By Press Association reporters