News that the hard shoulder on the M25 between the Kent and Surrey section is to be converted to a traffic lane is seen as potentially good news by the FTA.

Members of the public have been invited to find out more about plans to add extra capacity to the notoriously busy 15 mile section between junction 5, near Sevenoaks and junction 7 where the M25 meets the M23 intersection, which it is proposed will be through the delivery of the motorway’s first managed motorway scheme.

Managed motorways use a range of innovative technologies to actively control traffic, with features that include variable mandatory speed limits, opening the hard shoulder to traffic at busy periods.  The M25 introduction follows a successful pilot on the M42 in 2006, which saw accidents reduce by more than fifty per cent over a three-year period.

According to the Highways Agency, work on the managed motorway upgrade is due to start in 2013/14 subject to completion of statutory processes, and is hot on the heels of the successful completion of the widening of the motorway between junctions 16 – 23 and 27 – 30 last month.

James Hookham, FTA Managing Director – Policy and Communications said: “FTA feels that the proposal of what is essentially ‘creating an extra lane on the M25 is good news for this particularly busy stretch of motorway.  Some may see it as the Highways Agency widening on the cheap, but we feel that this will give motorists and most importantly our members extra capacity and will help to keep the motorway moving.”