A new report from MPs on the Commons transport select committee has concluded that plans to permanently convert hard shoulders into traffic lanes are dangerous and should be reconsidered.
The government says the move would increase motorway traffic capacity by 60% by the year 2040, but the transport committee says that safety concerns need to be addressed first. “The permanent removal of the hard shoulder is a dramatic change,” said Louise Ellman MP, the Chair of the committee. “All kinds of drivers, including the emergency services, are genuinely concerned about the risk this presents.
“It is undeniable that we need to find ways of dealing with traffic growth on the strategic network. But ‘all-lane running’ does not appear to us to be the safe, incremental change the department wants us to think it is.”
We already use the hard shoulder to deal with congestion, but scrapping them permanently sounds more like a convenient short-term fix than a sensible long-term plan. While the move would be cheaper than widening motorways with extra lanes, it comes with obvious and serious flaws, which neither the AA or RAC are happy about. The motorway is not a place for cutting corners. [Guardian]