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ICE backs hard shoulder use to ease jams

RADICAL USE of motorway hard shoulders as running lanes as being trialled on the M42 was this week, backed by the Institution of Civil Engineers as an 'innovative' way to beat congestion.

In a shift from its 2003 State of the Nation report which slammed the idea as failing to addressing the root problem, ICE West Midlands called for the latest scheme to be extended across the region.

From Tuesday, drivers on the M42 between Junction 3A at the M40 and Junction 7 with the M6 were being directed on to the hard shoulder during peak congestion (News last week).

A spokesman for ICE West Midlands said: 'Given the high levels of congestion on the region's roads, we must look to make the most of the infrastructure that we have.' He added: 'Therefore we welcome any innovative means of seeking to reduce congestion, and the Active Traffic Management system on the M42 certainly akes for an imaginative means of unblocking a majorly congested oute in the region.

'If successful, we would press for its implementation across the rest of the West Midlands motorway network as soon as possible.' In its 2003 State of the Nation Report the ICE warned against the introduction of hard shoulder running, claiming that it was 'the equivalent of putting NHS patients on trolleys in the corridor' (NCE 3 July 2003).

The report went on to describe it as 'an expedient measure that fails to address the root problem. 'As NCE went to press on Tuesday the Highways Agency said the early indications were that the scheme was operating well.

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