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Last Updated: Monday, 21 May 2007, 17:13 GMT 18:13 UK
M6 hard shoulder 'should be used'
Cars on motorway - generic
A decision on plans to widen the motorway is expected in November
Drivers should be allowed to use the hard shoulder of the M6 when it is congested, an MP has said.

David Kidney said a pilot scheme on the M42 should be extended to the M6 in Staffordshire and Cheshire.

The Stafford MP said he had asked the Highways Agency to consider his idea. The M6 is among the most congested motorways in the UK.

But the proposal has been opposed by a residents group fighting government plans to widen the motorway.

A decision on plans to widen the motorway between junction 11 and junction 19 is expected in November.

'A lot quicker'

The M42 pilot scheme works by lighting up arrow signs above the motorway which point to the hard shoulder during busy periods.

Mr Kidney said: "If we drive along the motorway and we all grind to a halt and don't see any roadworks and we don't see a crash, it's simply the weight of traffic that's stopped us.

"We do know it's very congested - that's why two different governments have come to the same conclusion and that they need to provide more capacity.

"They say by widening but what I'm saying is a lot quicker than that we could do what we are doing on the M42 already and use the hard shoulder."

'Making congestion bigger'

John Gale, of the Group Against Motorway Expansion, said some sections of the motorway did not currently have hard shoulders and the cost of creating them and improving the existing hard shoulder's road surface would be about 2bn.

He said the predicted cost of widening the motorway was up to 3.5bn and that he would rather see fewer cars on the motorway altogether.

He added that Mr Kidney's idea was "a cheaper way of making the congestion even bigger".

The Highways Agency said the M42 scheme had been in place for six months and it wanted three years of data about the safety implications of using the hard shoulder before considering extending the scheme.

Residents oppose M6 widening plan
19 May 07 |  Staffordshire
M6 remains among most congested
14 May 07 |  England
M6 widening plans blighting homes
18 Feb 07 |  Staffordshire
Plans to extend M6 toll scrapped
20 Jul 06 |  West Midlands
M6 plans anger rural campaigners
10 Jan 06 |  Manchester
Plans for second M6 toll laid out
10 Jan 06 |  Manchester

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