Rossendale and Darwen MP campaigns for hard shoulder to be opened on M66

Vehicles using the hard shoulder on the M1 with the sign showing

Jake Berry is pushing his case

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Local government reporter

MP JAKE Berry has stepped up his campaign to get the M66 hard shoulder opened to traffic at rush hours to improve journeys into Manchester.

The Rossendale and Darwen MP spoke out as the Highways Agency is reviewing its use of ‘smart’ managed motorway technology.

Currently, vehicles on the M6 through Birmingham are allowed to use the emergency refuge at peak times to cut traffic jams.

Now, the Highways Agency is looking at how the technology permitting this can be extended across the UK.

This allows variable speed limits and use of the hard shoulder as a traffic lane to cut congestion.

So far, the agency plans to use the technology to open the hard shoulder to traffic on the M6 in Cheshire, on the trans-pennine M62 near Rochdale.

And also on the M60 western route either side of junction 18 Simister Island.

But Mr Berry wants to see this happen on the southern end of the M66 towards the M60. He has met with Highways Agency chiefs to push the case for the extra rush hour lane to end morning traffic jams from Rossendale into Manchester and evening congestion out of the city back towards Haslingden and East Lancashire.

Mr Berry said: “I believe using the hard shoulder at peak times on the M66 into Manchester would ease traffic jams and cut journey times for residents of Rossendale and East Lancashire commuting into the city.

“I have met with Highways Agency chiefs to discuss this and whether to use the system on the M65.

“It would make a big difference to journey times and they have promised to look at this for the future.

“If they are bringing the system in to the M60 and M62 round Simister Island, it would make sense to do the same on the southern end of the M66.

“That stretch gets heavily congested into Manchester in the mornings and out of the city in the evenings.”

A Highways Agency spokesman said: “We have no current plans to use the hard shoulder on the M66 or M65.

They do not meet our usage criteria for the change.”

Comments (10)

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4:49pm Wed 8 Jan 14

tall in the saddle says...

It may improve the flow a little bit, but the exits will not be eased at all junctions. He should campaign for the Metro Link to be extended past Bury.
It may improve the flow a little bit, but the exits will not be eased at all junctions. He should campaign for the Metro Link to be extended past Bury. tall in the saddle
  • Score: 4

5:06pm Wed 8 Jan 14

shytalk says...

And if you break down what happens then? I tottally agree with tall in the saddle about the metro link being extended.
And if you break down what happens then? I tottally agree with tall in the saddle about the metro link being extended. shytalk
  • Score: 3

5:07pm Wed 8 Jan 14

HarryBosch says...

This is a highly dangerous strategy. I have listened with great concern as the Highways Agency have been floating the idea this week. Hard shoulders are there for a reason and that reason is safety. If you have a breakdown or other emergency whilst driving on the motorway then you need a refuge to escape to. Depending on the nature of the emergency that refuge may need to be immediate. Leave the hard shoulders for the original purpose. IMHO it would be too risky a strategy to usurp them as live lanes.
This is a highly dangerous strategy. I have listened with great concern as the Highways Agency have been floating the idea this week. Hard shoulders are there for a reason and that reason is safety. If you have a breakdown or other emergency whilst driving on the motorway then you need a refuge to escape to. Depending on the nature of the emergency that refuge may need to be immediate. Leave the hard shoulders for the original purpose. IMHO it would be too risky a strategy to usurp them as live lanes. HarryBosch
  • Score: 8

5:42pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Doug Spencer says...

In principal, the idea is a good one however, what is going to happen when it is dark? The lights are turned off now on the M66 and god forbid anyone breaks-down as a result of an electrical fault that kills the lights, what happens then?
The Metro extension or re-opening of the East Lancashire Railway is the way forward.
In principal, the idea is a good one however, what is going to happen when it is dark? The lights are turned off now on the M66 and god forbid anyone breaks-down as a result of an electrical fault that kills the lights, what happens then? The Metro extension or re-opening of the East Lancashire Railway is the way forward. Doug Spencer
  • Score: 9

6:09pm Wed 8 Jan 14

happycyclist says...

Idiot. The hard shoulder is there for a reason. You should be campaigning for other things such as better rail links and people working more locally. I know that not possible for everyone, but collectively, we need to start looking at ways of reducing our dependence on the car because it doesn't matter how many more lanes you use/build, they'll keep getting congested and we'll continue to get stressed over journeys to work.
Idiot. The hard shoulder is there for a reason. You should be campaigning for other things such as better rail links and people working more locally. I know that not possible for everyone, but collectively, we need to start looking at ways of reducing our dependence on the car because it doesn't matter how many more lanes you use/build, they'll keep getting congested and we'll continue to get stressed over journeys to work. happycyclist
  • Score: 8

8:19pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Padiham Paul says...

He would be better off campaigning to get the A56 at the bottom end of the M66 opened up to more that ONE lane. This is a real pinch point at peak morning rush times. Having only one lane going to Manchester on the main route from East Lancashire to Manchester is absolutely appalling. The A56 junction with Haslingden/Rawtensta
ll needs redesigning urgently.
He would be better off campaigning to get the A56 at the bottom end of the M66 opened up to more that ONE lane. This is a real pinch point at peak morning rush times. Having only one lane going to Manchester on the main route from East Lancashire to Manchester is absolutely appalling. The A56 junction with Haslingden/Rawtensta ll needs redesigning urgently. Padiham Paul
  • Score: 3

10:46pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Darren1951 says...

He's made quite a few newspaper comments in the the past week or so, hasn't he? Anyone would think we're approaching a general election!
He's made quite a few newspaper comments in the the past week or so, hasn't he? Anyone would think we're approaching a general election! Darren1951
  • Score: 1

12:10am Thu 9 Jan 14

You're not mugging me off that easily says...

There is a perfectly functioning railway line that goes from Rawtenstall to Manchester. What's the problem with using it for commuter travel ?
There is a perfectly functioning railway line that goes from Rawtenstall to Manchester. What's the problem with using it for commuter travel ? You're not mugging me off that easily
  • Score: 0

8:19am Thu 9 Jan 14

A Darener says...

Darren1951 wrote:
He's made quite a few newspaper comments in the the past week or so, hasn't he? Anyone would think we're approaching a general election!
Don't worry, they will all be at it soon. Just don't bother taking any notice. Whatever they say they usually mean the opposite.
[quote][p][bold]Darren1951[/bold] wrote: He's made quite a few newspaper comments in the the past week or so, hasn't he? Anyone would think we're approaching a general election![/p][/quote]Don't worry, they will all be at it soon. Just don't bother taking any notice. Whatever they say they usually mean the opposite. A Darener
  • Score: -1

10:09am Thu 9 Jan 14

burner says...

I drive a LOT on the M42 in the Midlands.Where this happens I watch the hard shoulder just becomes an overtaking lane - DANGEROUS !
I drive a LOT on the M42 in the Midlands.Where this happens I watch the hard shoulder just becomes an overtaking lane - DANGEROUS ! burner
  • Score: 4

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