Drivers travelling through roadworks on the M25 between Kent and Surrey will get to use 4 lanes from next week when the hard shoulder opens as an extra lane. From Wednesday morning motorists travelling between junctions 5 and 6 will use the hard shoulder as a permanent extra lane.
John Martin, Highways Agency Senior Project Manager said: "The improvements on the M25 in Kent and Surrey are part of the £1.7 billion of investment into roads in the South East by 2021.
The new smart motorway will provide extra capacity and offer more reliable journeys for the 140,000 drivers that use this stretch of road every day. I'm particularly pleased that the southern section of the M25 has opened well ahead of planned completion this winter.
"Ahead of the opening next week, I would like to ask drivers to get smart and find out more about how to use it, the types of signs and signals they will see and what to do in the event of a breakdown."
The Association of British Drivers (ABD) has waded into a safety row over plans to remove the hard shoulder on the M25 between Kent and Surrey, saying it's "an accident waiting to happen".
The £175million Highway Agency scheme to ease congestion would make the hard shoulder an extra lane for traffic - with refuge areas every two and a half kilometres between junction five and junction seven.
"The hard shoulder is a long established, well recognised safe haven in case of breakdowns or accidents," said Ian Taylor, spokesman for the ABD.
"Plans to replace the hard shoulder with refuges 2500 feet apart are an accident waiting to happen.
"We also condemn plans to install speed cameras at these junctions to vary the speed limit at busy periods. The war on the motorist continues unabated."