Currently reading: Hard shoulder scheme launched
New trial begins on M6 near Birmingham

A new hard shoulder running scheme has been launched on the M6 near Birmingham.

The scheme covers a seven-mile stretch of road between junction 4 – Coleshill, and junction 5 - Castle Bromwich.

In addition to allowing hard shoulder running, road users will be able to drive along the motorway hard shoulder between junction slip roads. Previously drivers were required to exit the hard shoulder upon approaching the exit.

The scheme follows the successful M42 pilot of a similar scheme at junction 5 near Solihull.

During the pilot phase of the M42 project concerns were raised over the safety of hard shoulder running. However, latest figures have revealed that accidents have been reduced from an average of 5.1 a month to 1.8 since the scheme's introduction.

Karl Berridge

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Casanova 1 December 2009

Re: Hard shoulder scheme launched

I also use the M42 in that stretch regularly and the system works. The hard shoulder is only brought into action when the speed is down to 50mph anyway, and all the lanes are moving at a steady speed. I look forward to when it finally opens on the M6 too (its taken them long enough to install!).

There are refuges built every few hundred yards if someone breaks down, and the system of gantries that has to be installed makes it very easy for them to quickly close a lane if a blockage occurs. It's definitely safer and improves traffic flow enormously.

stuart74 1 December 2009

Re: Hard shoulder scheme launched

There is one point that seems to be missed by those concerned about the lack of a hard shoulder and that is that there are 'safe areas' built into the side of the hard shoulder. These are effectively places where you can pull into if your car develops a fault whilst on the hard shoulder or the motorway itself. You are not likely to be left stranded on the hard shoulder with vehicles travelling on it.

The main reason for the hard shoulder running is actually to keep the flow of the traffic moving, rather than add extra capacity. It works very well on the M42 and although it can be a bit frustrating sticking to the 50 mph when you need to get a move on, it is much better than the constant stop-start we used to have.

N0077666 1 December 2009

Re: Hard shoulder scheme launched

The only time I have used the hard shoulder is when stopped by the police for speeding! get rid of them I say!!!