Dynamic Hard Shoulder enhancements

Improving journeys on older smart motorways

Dynamic Hard Shoulder enhancements

What's happening

National Highways is delivering a series of enhancements to sections of dynamic hard shoulder motorways across the country.

‘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.

On 15 April 2023 the Government announced that plans for new smart motorways would be cancelled in recognition of the lack of public confidence felt by drivers and cost pressures.  This follows an announcement in January 2022 to pause the rollout of new all lane running smart motorways, yet to start construction. The Government and National Highways continue to invest £900 million in further safety improvements on existing smart motorways, and to give motorists clear advice when using existing smart motorways. 

Plans to convert these sections of motorway to the latest All Lane Running standard have been cancelled. In the Government's response to the 2021 Transport Select Committee report into smart motorways, it committed to consider alternative ways in which to operate dynamic hard shoulder motorways.

We are also installing further safety measures where DHS motorways are in operation, including upgrading the central reservation barrier.

The work is part National Highways’ commitment to make England’s smart motorways even safer and improve confidence in them.

You can see more information on our smart motorway evidence stocktake page.

About our roadworks

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

Where we are upgrading safety barriers, there will be narrow lanes and a reduced speed limit. Any additional restructions will be limited to overnight or at weekends when traffic volumes are lowest.

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

Our programme

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

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

Find out more

You can email the project team directly at: