Sheffield MP’s anger at go-ahead for ‘unsafe’ M1 scheme

Sheffield MP Meg Munn

Sheffield MP Meg Munn

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Campaigning Sheffield MP Meg Munn has told of her anger after highways bosses announced plans are to go ahead to open the hard shoulder of the M1 as a fourth lane - despite unresolved safety concerns.

Ms Munn, Labour MP for Sheffield Heeley, is worried about the risk of collisions with broken down vehicles.

She fears motorists may not be able to reach ‘refuges’ to be built at the side of the motorway and wants assurances that CCTV monitoring of the motorway will take place at all times.

But the Highways Agency says construction of the ‘managed motorway’ schemes on the M1 between junctions 28 and 31 is scheduled to start in early 2014, with the junction 32 to 35a section due to start in late spring 2014.

The only condition is that environmental assessments must be completed first and there has been no mention of a safety review.

Ms Munn said: “It’s astonishing that the Highways Agency thinks it’s all right to publish the proposed changes when I am still waiting for confirmation that my safety concerns have been resolved.

“There is still a lot of concern about why this change needs to be 24 hours. Where it has been tried elsewhere, it is peak hours only.

“Vehicle speeds are much faster outside of peak times and the police believe it will cost lives.”

However, Highways Agency regional director Vanessa Gilbert said: “This is good news for road users across the region.

“These road improvements will deliver benefits to drivers in the long term by tackling congestion, making journey times more reliable and improving safety.”

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