A new scheme allowing motorists to drive on the hard shoulder of one of Britain's busiest stretches of motorway has opened.
The Highways Agency's £3 million "through-junction running" initiative is aimed at easing congestion at junction 5 on the M42 near Solihull in the West Midlands.
It will mark the first time motorists have been able to use a motorway hard shoulder between slip roads.
Earlier, they have been allowed to use the hard shoulder on part of the M42, but had to drive back into "normal" lanes when they approached junction 5.
Drivers will now be able to take advantage of a continuous four-lane section of motorway from junction 6 southbound near Birmingham Airport to junction 4 at Monkspath.
Transport Minister Chris Mole said: "Hard shoulder running has already made journeys on the M42 near Birmingham safer and more reliable. To maximise these benefits and further increase capacity the Highways Agency is now making more of the hard shoulder available to traffic at busy times.
"Through-junction running is just one of the measures taken by the agency to increase capacity, reduce congestion and improve journey time reliability and safety on our motorways."
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