I note that the ICE has endorsed the use of the hard shoulder as an extra lane on motorways during congested periods (News last week).
This idea has been mooted several times, with discussion on the safety aspects, but noone appears to have raised a possible engineering problem.
As I understand it, the pavement construction of a motorway hard shoulder is generally greatly inferior to that of the running lanes. It is simply not designed for continuous traffic use.
'Congested periods' will become longer and longer, and the hard shoulder will suffer more and more punishment - largely from heavy lorries - for which it simply is not designed.
When it has to be reconstructed because of this, the result will be more congestion.
Frank Paine (M), j. paine@ tinyworld. co. uk