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Agency delays M1 hard shoulder running scheme

The Highways Agency has confirmed that the Managed Motorway all-lane-running (MMALR) scheme between junctions 32 and 35a of the M1 in South Yorkshire has been delayed.

Construction was due to start in April this year, but is now not expected to begin until autumn this year at the earliest. According to the Agency, this is due to ongoing work on the scheme’s statutory environmental assessment. The delay is not due to concerns about the safety of MMALR, it said.

MMALR is the latest development in the Agency’s Managed Motorway programme of widening motorways by using hard shoulders as permanent running lanes.

Previous Managed Motorway schemes on the M42 and M6 have activated hard shoulder running only at times of peak traffic flow. MMALR has been designed to a new Highways Agency standard.

This involves converting the hard shoulder into a permanent running lane with fewer variable message sign gantries and greater distances between vehicle refuges.

The new arrangement has attracted criticism from the South Yorkshire Police, which has expressed “fundamental concerns” about the MMALR design (NCE 10 January).

Following delay to the M1 project, the first two MMALR schemes to reach site are on the M25 from junctions 5 to 7 which started on site in January and from junctions 23 to 27 which is due to start on site imminently.

Earlier this month a motorist was killed within the roadworks of the MMALR on the M25 between junctions 5 and 7.

Reports said the driver broke down in the early hours of 10 April and was killed as he left his vehicle and was struck by a lorry.

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