TALKS will take place between the Highways Agency and residents living near the M1 about plans to convert the hard shoulder into a fourth lane.
The Highway Agency’s plans need ministerial approval, which will hinge on an upcoming environmental appraisal this March.
VIDEO: Press the play button to get a short, computer generated driver’s-eye view of what a four-lane M1 motoway would look like in South Yorkshire.
Under the changes, the hard shoulder near Sheffield will be opened up to traffic between junctions 28 and 31, and from 32 to 35a.
The Highways Agency showcased its plans to the public yesterday with an information exhibition at The Source at Meadowhall, which continues today, 1pm - 4pm.
Phil Jones, senior project manager, said: “Our aim is to improve traffic flow and ease congestion, but safety is also paramount for us.”
The £300 million improvements will include safety precautions such as the use of CCTV and signposting to monitor traffic and change speed limits accordingly.
Mr Jones insists that it will be ‘short term pain with huge long-term benefits’.
He also said: “The roads will become that much closer to residents and we’re talking to local people about any possible impacts.”
The Highways Agency said that the benefits of a smoother traffic flow will in turn lead to less of an impact on the environment and reduced pollution.
Mr Jones said: “Effect on the environment is a very complex issue and we’ve been putting in a lot of research into how it will affect different factors.”
Comments from the public were welcomed at the Meadowhall exhibition as Highways Agency representatives were ‘keen’ to gather local concerns.
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