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Last Updated: Friday, 3 December, 2004, 11:51 GMT
M-way overtaking ban for lorries
Traffic jam
Lorries overtaking can cause congestion and accidents
A trial overtaking ban for lorries on motorways is being planned for 2005.

The Highways Agency is hoping to test the scheme on a two-lane stretch of the M42 in the West Midlands, forcing trucks to stay in one lane.

The scheme is currently in the consultancy stage but if it goes ahead and results are positive it could stretch to other motorways.

Motoring groups say lorries overtaking each other not only cause delays but are a major cause of accidents.

The Highways Agency initiative follows a similar ban in the Netherlands which increased road capacity by 4%.

The ban would be enforced by the police and piloted on the northbound stretch, between junctions 10 and 11, where the motorway runs slightly uphill. It would be in place from 0700 to 1900.

A Highways Agency spokesman said the organisation is currently in consultation with interested parties such as the police, emergency services and freight associations.

But if all agree the scheme would go ahead in early 2005 for around 18 months.

Then the results would be analysed to see if they could used nationwide.

Motorists will certainly welcome the trial, which is not about penalising lorries but is trying to deal sensibly with a specific, limited stretch of heavily congested two-lane motorway
Susie Haywood, RAC

He said: "Currently lorries two abreast, one overtaking the other, cause long delays for other drivers while the open road stretches ahead of the lorries.

"We see the scheme as one of our tools in tackling congestion on the strategic motorway congestion."

But the Freight Transport Association said the only real way to cut congestion is to widen roads.

FTA freight manager Colin Hagan told the Times: "This will set an alarming precedent and we are concerned that all heavy goods vehicles could be forced to travel in the same lane at the speed of the slowest."

The association has written to the Highways Agency urging it to consider much wider use of the hard shoulder as another way of increasing capacity.

RAC spokesperson Susie Haywood said hard shoulder running was "too simplistic" but supported the M42 scheme.

She said: "Motorists will certainly welcome the trial, which is not about penalising lorries but is trying to deal sensibly with a specific, limited stretch of heavily congested two-lane motorway. "


SEE ALSO:
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11 Oct 04 |  South Yorkshire


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