Friday, 2 May 2014

Kent stretch of M25 gets extra lane to ease congestion . . .


Kent stretch of M25 gets extra lane to ease congestion

Cited at:

M25 motorway

...but at the cost of losing the hard shoulder

Motorists using an 18-mile stretch of the M25 through Kent have an extra lane to use as of today - but concerns are still being raised over the loss of the hard shoulder.

In a bid to ease congestion on the stretch between junction five at Sevenoaks and through to six and seven at Godstone, over the border in Surrey, the Highways Agency has transformed the hard shoulder into an extra lane of traffic.

The work has caused major delays in both directions in recent months as the traditional emergency lane is resurfaced and so-called ‘smart technology’ introduced so traffic flows can be carefully monitored.

Some six months ahead of schedule, the extra lane went live today.

Instead of the hard shoulder, there will be a number of emergency stopping points for vehicles that breakdown.

Motoring organisations how expressed concerns, however, saying it does not provide sufficient protection for motorists who run into trouble. The Highways Agency says a series of cameras monitoring the road will allow for lanes to be closed in the case of breakdowns.

The ‘smart technology’ will allow those in a control room to monitor traffic flows, reduce speed limits, alert recovery vehicles and block lanes depending on the needs of the road.

Transport minister Robert Goodwill addressed these concerns today. He said: “90 per cent of stops on the hard shoulder on motorways are for non-emergency reasons.

“By removing the hard shoulder, we’re actually making the roads safer.

“We have the guys watching on the cameras, who can slow traffic down if there’s an accident or breakdown.”

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