Date set for work to start on using M1 hard shoulder

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WORK to allow motorists to use the hard shoulder of the M1 near Sheffield as a fourth lane at busy times will start between January and March next year, the Department for Transport has revealed.

The ‘managed motorway’ plan involves the section between Junction 32 at Thurcroft and Junction 35a at Chapeltown and will cost £124 million.

Under the scheme, overhead gantries will be introduced every few hundred yards, with signs to regulate drivers’ speeds and indicate which lanes are open and closed.

Lay-bys will be created for broken down vehicles at frequent intervals and the carriageways will be monitored by CCTV in case of breakdowns in running lanes, which could then be closed to prevent accidents.

Speed cameras will be erected on the gantries to ensure drivers comply when reduced speeds are in force.

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “The Highways Agency expects to start construction of the managed motorways scheme for M1 Junctions 32 to 35a in the final quarter of 2012/13.”

Similar work will be carried out in the 2013/14 financial from Junctions 28 in Derbyshire to 31 at Aston, at a cost of £300 million.

Details of the two schemes were announced to The Star by Rotherham-born Transport Secretary Justine Greening.

Two other transport projects have also been announced in the coming financial year to March 2013.

A new two-level junction is to be built on the A1 at Elkesley, near Worksop, to remove some of the dangerous surface-level junctions where drivers have to turn across the dual carriageway.

The current 50mph speed limit and cameras will remain, however, until the junctions are also replaced in neighbouring Twyford – a project awaiting funding.

A scheme to speed up trains between Sheffield and Doncaster is set to go ahead ‘subject to completion of business cases,’ with £150,000 to be spent on raising line speeds through Conisbrough tunnel.

Network Rail said that would ‘create savings on fuel consumption and brake wear’.

However, no date has been set for the start of an upgrade to the Sheffield to Manchester railway line, which was granted funding in last week’s Budget by Chancellor George Osborne.

Meanwhile, decisions are still waiting to be made on whether to approve a trial of tram-trains to run between Sheffield and Rotherham and on electrification of the Sheffield to London railway line.