A £6.2 billion private-finance deal to maintain and widen the M25 has been hailed as a major step forward by Transport Minister Lord Adonis.
The deal follows an announcement by the Government in January that extra capacity would be added to certain sectors of the motorway through the use of `hard shoulder running` - allowing cars to use the hard shoulder during busy times.
The new work will be phased to reduce the impact on road users and keep as many lanes open as possible. Work on both sections is due to be completed before the 2012 Olympics.
But the 30-year contract for Britain's busiest motorway attracted criticism from some quarters after the cost of the refurbishment rose by more than £1 billion from the original price.
Under the contract, the M25 will be widened to four lanes between junctions 16 near Uxbridge in west London to junction 23 at South Mimms in Hertfordshire.
The section between junction 27 near Epping in Essex and junction 30 near Aveley in Essex will also be widened to four lanes, while the Hatfield Tunnel on the A1 (M) will be refurbished.
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