VIDEO: South Yorkshire Police chief’s fears over plans for motorway lanes

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A SENIOR police officer has warned a multi-million pound scheme to turn the M1 hard shoulder in South Yorkshire into a fourth lane could ‘cost lives’

The changes are to be made between Junction 32, with the M18, and Junction 35a, with the A616 at High Green, in South Yorkshire as part of a £290 million managed motorway scheme aimed at reducing congestion.

Chief Inspector Stuart Walne (left)

Chief Inspector Stuart Walne (left)

The plans are similar to an existing scheme on the M42 in the West Midlands, but Chief Inspector Stuart Walne, head of roads policing for South Yorkshire, has warned of ‘fundamental operational difficulties’.

Asked whether the scheme could cost lives, he said: “I believe it will.

“The scheme [on the M1] is not the same as the M42. We do not have the same experience of how it works.

“There are fundamental operational difficulties it presents that we don’t have answers to at the moment.”

And he said signage planned for the scheme on the M1 ‘was not of the standard you have around the M42’.

But The Highways Agency insisted The M1 would ‘remain at least as safe as it is now’.

In a statement the agency said: “The existing managed motorways schemes have not only improved reliability and eased congestion, but have also delivered significant safety benefits.”

VIDEO: Press the play button to see a digital simulation of what driving on a section of the planned four-lane motorway in South Yorkshire will look like.