It would appear that most objections to hard shoulder running are based on a view that the shoulder is simply opened up as a fourth lane but nothing is further from the truth.
The additional (and very expensive) ATM measures make the motorway much safer than it was before and shoulder running is only introduced for hours when the traffic is very heavy. The M42 was dreadful before ATM but is now a pleasure to use and much safer.
Had Roger Axon (Letters last week) taken the trouble to investigate the very successful pilot scheme on the M42 he would have found answers to all of the questions he asks:
- maintenance is only carried out when the hard shoulder is not being used by traffic; due to the extra signing and ability to vary the speed limit the safety of such operations is actually improved.
- safety during the installation of temporary signs and cones is also improved due to the extra monitoring and control with ability to reduce traffic speeds.
- the shoulder is continuously monitored by CCTV and when an incident occurs, which cannot be contained within the additional laybys, the shoulder running is discontinued; thus the emergency services have the same access to the shoulder that they have now but also have the additional safe areas alongside the shoulder
- broken down cars stop in the safe areas constructed every 500m alongside the shoulder
As regards the “paying with their life” argument – around 10 of us do that every day of the week.
PETER STYLES, Kingsbury (just off the M42) Peter_styles@msn.com