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Hard-shoulder running may replace M25 widening

The Highways Agency's business plan suggests that some of M25 widening may be scrapped in favour of active traffic management

Hard-shoulder running is being considered by the Department of Transport for at least two sections of the M25, said Rebecca Lush Blum of the Campaign for Better Transport. The £5bn Design, Build, Finance and Operate (DBFO) contract was originally to widen and maintain for 30 years four sections of the M25 totalling 63 miles but Lush Blum believes that "due to our campaigning the DfT is now considering using the hard shoulder on two of the four sections, rather than widening".

"The Highways Agency’s recently published Business Plan 2008/9 now shows that hard shoulder running (ATM) is being considered on junctions 5-7 and 23-27", said Lush Blum in her blog in the Campaign for Better Transport website.

In Annexe B of the Business Plan, junctions 5-7 and 23-27 are among the "schemes which were previously being considered as part of the Targeted Programme of Improvements (TPI) for conventional widening, but hard shoulder running solutions are now also being examined."

Campaign for Better Transport research suggests that "Highways Agency figures reveal that widening all four sections of the M25 would result in an additional 114, 714 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. A pilot of hard shoulder running at 50mph on the M42 reduced carbon emissions by 10%, and is a fraction of the cost of widening."

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