LANE RESTRICTIONS will stay in place on a major M1 motorway bridge despite the completion of an £82M strengthening programme, the Highways Agency said last week.
Traffi c on the top of the two level M1 Tinsley Viaduct was reduced from six to four lanes in 1999 after weight restrictions were imposed on the structure.
At the same time, the outer traffi lanes of the motorway approach were converted into slip roads for traffic using the M1's junction 34, which is under the bridge.
Strengthening began in 2002 and is now complete. Last week the project won the Major Project Award at the British Construction Industry Awards.
But the Agency said it would retain the layout until the M1 on either side was widened to eight lanes. No date has been set for this work.
AA Motoring Trust director Bert Morris said the decision was 'illogical. If you are going to keep the cork in the bottle, the benefi s are not going to flow, ' he said.
But Highways Agency project leader Roger Wantling said traffic fl ows had changed significantly since the new layout was introduced.
'Our studies show that reinstating the previous layout and losing the dedicated entry and exit lanes would reduce safety and result in severe congestion on the motorway and local roads in the area, ' he said.
When the M1 is widened to eight lanes, it will narrow to six just before the viaduct, with outer lanes used as slip roads.