6bn jam busting scheme unveiled

Motorists frustrated by traffic jams may be able to see a chink of light at the end of their journeys under additional plans to allow drivers to use motorway hard shoulders and possible tolled lanes.

The six-year, £6 billion jambuster package announced by Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly will build on trials of hard-shoulder driving at peak times on the M42 near Birmingham.

New hard-shoulder schemes at new locations will be put in place on the M3 and M4 approaches to London the M4 and M5 around Bristol and the M3 and M27 around Southampton.

Other investment for England's motorways and other key routes includes:

:: Hard-shoulder use at sections of the motorway network where widening was previously planned

:: A £60 million congestion-easing fund for eight areas - Bristol, Greater Manchester, Leicester, London, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear and the West Midlands

:: Funding for Leeds, Cambridgeshire and Reading in Berkshire to tackle congestion combined with possible local congestion charging

:: Investigation of dedicated or tolled lane use as in operation in America

:: £8 million to help local authorities manage their transport assets more effectively.

Ms Kelly said: "I am determined to get the best from our road network so that motorists have reliable journey times on roads that are safe and well-managed. The greatest barrier to this is congestion. It is frustrating and has serious consequences for the economy and the environment.

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