All lane running upgrade

Making journeys simpler

All lane running upgrade

What's happening

‘Dynamic hard shoulder’ (DHS) is an older form of motorway where the hard shoulder is turned on and off as a traffic lane in response to traffic flow.

We know that this type of motorway has the potential to cause confusion for drivers because the hard shoulder is sometimes in use for traffic and sometimes not.

Also, as time goes on and the motorway becomes busier, the hard shoulder is in use for longer periods of time.

The simple solution to end this potential for confusion is to convert the hard shoulder permanently into a traffic lane. This is known as all lane running (ALR), which has been the standard for smart motorways since 2012.

This will give drivers a more consistent experience because there will be only one type of motorway without a permanent hard shoulder.

There are 63 miles of dynamic hard shoulder across the country, on seven sections of road.

How it works

The new road layout will be simpler and easier to understand.

The upgrades will have technology which identifies a stopped vehicle, typically within 20 seconds, and provides an alert to our control room, where operators can:

  • set a Red X sign to close one or more lanes
  • adjust speed limits
  • deploy traffic officers

The sections will also have places to stop in an emergency. Where feasible, these emergency areas will be three quarters of a mile apart and no more than a maximum of one mile apart.

About our roadworks

We will always try and choose the best and least disruptive way of delivering these upgrades.

At some locations, for example where we need to upgrade safety barriers, there will likely be narrow lanes and a reduced speed limit.

At other locations, overnight lane closures might be enough. For example, where we are:

  • updating technology on the road verge
  • lifting gantries
  • piling
  • working on retaining walls
  • clearing sites

We will carefully consider what roadworks will be required at each location and we will make sure we publicise details in advance.

Our programme

We will be delivering these upgrades in phases, and all upgrades will be complete for March 2025.

In August and September 2021 we ran a public consultation on the legal changes behind the upgrades.

Scheme Region Start of work Open for traffic
M62 J25-30 (Brighouse to Rothwell)  Yorkshire and North East  Spring 2022 2022-2023 
M42 J4-7 (Dorridge to the M6 Coleshill Interchange) Midlands 2023-2024 2024-2025
M6 J4-5 (Coleshill Interchange to Castle Bromwich) Midlands Autumn 2021  2022-2023
M6 J5-8 (Castle Bromwich to the M5 merge near Tame bridge) Midlands Spring 2023 2024-2025
M6 J8-10a (M5 merge near Tame bridge to M54 merge near Essington) Midlands 2023-2024 2024-2025
M1 J10-13 (Luton Airport to Bedford) East of England Summer 2022 2023-2024
M4/M5 (The Bristol Box: M4 J19-20 and M5 J16-17) South West Summer 2022 2023-2024

Find out more

You can email the project team directly at: