Drivers braced for more motorway delays

Drivers braced for more motorway delays

Queue-hit M1 drivers face no respite as one road improvement scheme is replaced by another.

Current work is due to finish by the end of September. But Smart motorway upgrades from junction 16 and 19 should start straight afterwards and last for up to an additional 18 months, according to Highways England .

The agency says drivers can anticipate comparable delays during this schedule of work, which should be completed between next August and February 2017.

A spokesman says the improvements should make things far easier for motorists once they are finished.

The upgrades can be viewed and commented upon from Monday in a virtual online exhibition which will end on November 30.

The Smart motorway schemes involve hard shoulders being used by cars, lorries, motorbikes and other traffic as a special running lane, with different speed limits helping to control vehicle flow.

Signage informs motorists about any queues, accidents or closures ahead and which speed they should drive at.

The RAC expressed reservations about these all-lane running schemes . Last year David Bizley, the motoring group's technical director, said: "The RAC has raised concerns with the Highways Agency about the added risk arising from increased distance between emergency refuge areas, and we are disappointed so far at the absence of action to address them.

"Dynamic hard shoulder running has proved to be very successful in terms of reducing congestion at peak periods and has a good safety record. Indeed, so far, these sections of motorway have proven to be significantly safer than a conventional three-lane motorway with a hard shoulder. However, we believe the greater distance between emergency refuge areas creates an unnecessary risk to the safety of any motorist breaking down in lane one on an all-lane running section."

Project leader of Highways England Asad Khan said the new virtual exhibition is a far more "innovative", "convenient" method of letting know motorists know about the upgrades and their ramifications.

It should also guide the agency's stakeholders as well as residents living near the improvements, he added. Mr Khan expressed his "delight" at the new display.

Copyright Press Association 2015