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DRIVING FOR WORK ON MOTORWAYS

‘Through-junction running’ to improve reliability and safety

From 9 December 2009 drivers on the M42 near Solihull will be the first in the country to be able to drive along the motorway hard shoulder between junction slip roads. The measure is known as ‘through-junction running’.

Transport Minister Chris Mole said: “Hard shoulder running has already made journeys on the M42 near Birmingham safer and more reliable.

Through-junction running is just one of the measures taken by the HA to increase capacity, reduce congestion and improve journey time reliability and safety on our motorways.”

Derek Turner, HA Director said:“This scheme should also offer even greater safety benefits because traffic will be able to stay in lane at the junction, rather then having to move over when the hard shoulder ends.”

New black and yellow electronic variable message signs, which are visible to road users travelling southbound at junction 5 will change their display based on whether the hard shoulder is open to traffic and which lanes can be used to exit from or stay on the motorway.

Using variable message signs in this ‘dynamic’ way is a new concept which gives road users a clear indication of the road layout ahead and what they can expect when travelling through or joining the M42 southbound.

Hard shoulder running on the M42 has improved journey time reliability by 22 per cent and personal injury accidents have decreased from an average of 5.1 per month to 1.8.

Where hard shoulders are opened up as running lanes this only happens following the implementation of significant safety features.

Emergency refuge areas are provided at regular intervals; the network is intensively monitored by HA Control centre staff and speeds are controlled to ensure safety.

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