Hard shoulders scrapped on some motorways

18 Jun, 2013 4:01pm Chris Ebbs

A new All Lanes Running scheme is to be introduced to help ease congestion on the UK's major motorways

A new scheme that replaces the hard shoulder for a fourth lane is set to be rolled out across stretches of the UK’s major motorways in an attempt to cut congestion.

Dubbed All Lanes Running, the system will mean that parts of the M25, M6, M4, M3, M62, M60 and M1 will become four lanes. Drivers will only be informed when not to use the inside lane – once the hard shoulder. It will also warn drivers of queues ahead and set variable speed limits.

This is an advance on the systems currently used on some stretches of the M42 and M1, which use signs to tell drivers that they can use the hard shoulder at peak traffic times.

The first stretch of the new motorway system will be in operation on the M25, between junctions five and seven, by Emergency Refuge Areas will be created up to 2.5km apart.

The Highways Agency claims that the new scheme will allow them to create a more controlled environment on the motorway.

Andrew Page-Dove, asset development manager for the Highways Agency, said: “All Lanes Running should see a 15 per cent improvement on all round safety risks.”

Page-Dove explained that there are currently around five stops per day, per motorway mile in the hard shoulder or in a lane. But with the new scheme this would fall to one breakdown in a live lane.

The Highways Agency also claimed that around 50 per cent of hard shoulder stops are illegal with drivers using it to have a toilet break or make a phone call, while 25 to 35 per cent of cars could continue to an emergency refuge area.

Do you think ditching the hard shoulder is a good idea? Will it make roads less safe? Or is cutting traffic more important? Let us know what you think in the comments below.