MOTORISTS IN the West Midlands will next week become the first in Britain to use the hard shoulder as a running lane as an initiative to cut congestion swings into action.
Drivers on the M42 between Junction 3A (the M40) and Junction 7 (the M6) will be directed on to the hard shoulder during peak congestion by electronic signs. A 50mph speed limit will then be applied to all lanes.
The initiative is part of a £100M Highways Agency scheme called Active Trafc Management, which aims to help keep the traffic moving by making the best possible use of the space available on our motorways.
Emergency refuge areas are provided behind the hard shoulder every 500m to keep broken down vehicles away from the trafc.
The M42 between Junction 3A and 7 is a key part of the national motorway network and one of the most heavily congested stretches in the country.
Around 125,000 vehicles use the section every day.