Second hard shoulder scheme opened

A second stretch of a motorway hard shoulder opened for rush hour traffic is hoped to make an "invaluable contribution to business and economy".

Known as hard shoulder running (HSR), the second motorway jambuster scheme has been introduced between junctions four and five on the M6 near Birmingham.

The scheme was announced after a pilot on the M42 in the West Midlands had proved successful. Its results showed that drivers have had more reliable journey times, with a reduction in the number of accidents from an average of 5.1 a month to 1.8 a month.

Transport minister Chris Mole, who opened the second jambuster project, said: "This crucial scheme will make an invaluable contribution to business and economy and I am delighted that the benefits are being brought to road users on this vital national transport spine a month ahead of schedule."

The first so-called "through-junction running" scheme, to maximise the benefits of HSR, is also expected to start on the M42 on December 9.

Motorists travelling southbound on the M42 at junction five near Solihull will be the first in the UK to be able to drive along the motorway hard shoulder between junction slip roads.

This will provide a continuous four-lane section of motorway on the M42 southbound from junction six to junction four. Previously drivers were required to exit the hard shoulder when approaching junction five.

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