Work to remove the M4 Bus Lane is expected to start on Monday night (November 15), and the first traffic should be able to use the whole of the extra lane later in the week.
The Highways Agency is ahead of schedule and the work is due to be completed in December. Good weather is needed for the work to remove and replace signs and road markings, but if all progresses well, M4 traffic should be able to use some of the extra lane as early as Tuesday morning.
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said:
"Scrapping the M4 bus lane is symbolic of this Government's decision to end the war on the motorist. It ends the injustice suffered by thousands of drivers who sit in traffic next to an empty lane day in day out.
"I am therefore delighted that we are ahead of schedule and the Highways Agency is starting work to remove the M4 bus lane so traffic can use it earlier than originally expected.
"We will monitor the suspension over the next 18 months, but my intention is to scrap the lane permanently after the London 2012 Olympics are over."
Roadside signing will confirm when all motorway traffic can use the lane.
The work will continue with a number of overnight carriageway closures, but as many lanes as possible will be open during the day.
The work will include the removal of all signs and road markings relating to the bus lane on the M4 eastbound between junctions 3 and 2, and a revised road layout where the carriageway merges from three lanes to two in advance of the elevated section.
The M4 eastbound between junctions 3 and 2 will be closed overnight for four nights, from Monday 15 November, and again for four nights from Monday 22 November. Clearly signed diversions will be in place during the closures; traffic will be diverted along the A312 and A4.
On the westbound M4 between junctions 2 and 3, lane three will be closed for three nights from Monday 15 November. This is to create a safety zone while work is carried out on the central reservation.
All the closures will take place between 10pm and 5.30am, when traffic flows are lowest, to reduce disruption to road users.
The suspension of the M4 Bus Lane is being carried out under an Experimental Order under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.
If evidence supports the permanent removal of the bus lane, then a Revocation Order will be made following the appropriate processes, including consultation.
Notes to Editors
1. The Highways Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Transport. We manage, maintain and improve England's motorways and trunk roads on behalf of the Secretary of State.
2. We plan maintenance and improvement projects carefully to allow works to be completed safely, in a cost effective way while keeping disruption to road users to a minimum. We do as much work as possible overnight and when roads are less busy in order to keep more lanes open for road users at peak travel times. Drivers are advised to check their route for road works and allow extra time for their journeys where needed. We have a variety of journey planning tools that road users can use to check travel conditions on the roads we manage, and we will do all we can to keep road users informed.
3. Real-time traffic information for England's motorways and major A roads is available:
- From our Traffic Radio service, available on DAB digital radio and the internet atwww.trafficradio.org.uk To tune into the DAB service, simply press the "scan" button on your radio. The radio will tune into all available channels and you can select the new service by scrolling through the channels until you reach "Traffic Radio".
Before using any mobile, find a safe place to park. Never stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency. Make sure it's safe and legal before you call.
- By phone from the Highways Agency 24-hour voice activated phone service on 08700 660 115. (Calls from BT residential landlines to 0870 numbers will cost no more than 8p per minute; call charges from other landlines and mobile networks may vary).
4. For more general information about the Highways Agency and its work, visit the Highways Agency website www.highways.gov.uk, or telephone the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000 at any time (Calls from landlines to 0300 numbers can cost up to 8p per minute but are free from some landline providers: calls from mobiles usually cost more. Please check costs with your service provider).
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