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M1: Bedfordshire

Volume 488: debated on Monday 2 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for the scheme to widen the M1 between junctions 10 and 13; and if he will make a statement. [Official Report, 11 March 2009, Vol. 489, c. 9-10MC.] (258306)

In January 2009 the Department for Transport published “Britain's Transport Infrastructure, Motorways and Major Trunk Roads” which summarises the results of assessments of hard shoulder (HSR) running as an alternative to widening on a number of sections of the motorway network including the M1 between junctions 10 and 13. This document is available in the Libraries of the House.

This work has concluded that hard shoulder running can deliver improvements more quickly than motorway widening, provides a better value for money solution and gives benefits in terms of safety and reliability. Additional capacity can be delivered at a lower cost than a more conventional road widening scheme with fewer environmental impacts. We have successfully and safely giving us confidence that we can do the same elsewhere on the network.

In the light of these findings, the January document confirmed that we plan to commence works on the implementation of hard shoulder running on the M1 between junctions 10 and 13 in the next financial year. The Highways Agency will be providing more detailed information on the scheme in spring 2009.