Page last updated at 13:45 GMT, Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Works begins on M1 hard shoulder scheme

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Drivers will be allowed to use the hard shoulder during the work

Work has begun on a scheme that will allow drivers on the M1 to use a 15-mile (25km) stretch of the hard shoulder to ease peak-time congestion.

The stretch between junction 13 for Milton Keynes and junction 10 for Luton is expected to be open by spring 2013.

The government said a "managed motorway" pilot scheme showed more reliable journey times and a reduction in the number of accidents.

The Highways Agency has estimated the road works will cost up to £504m.

Speaking as the work began on the M1 in Bedfordshire, Transport minister Chris Mole said: "The M1 is a key artery.

"This crucial scheme will make an invaluable contribution to business and economy by increasing capacity, improving journey time, reliability and safety."

The road, which links the M25 with the Midlands and the North of England, is used by more than 135,000 vehicles every day.

Similar schemes already operate on the M42 and M6 in the West Midlands.



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