BRITAIN'S first motorway car sharing lane is to be created in West Yorkshire
Transport Secretary Alistair Darling revealed today that the lane will be built at the busy Chain Bar Junction 26 on the M606 and M62.
The one-mile slip-road lane will allow southbound traffic on the M606 from Bradford to bypass the busy roundabout at the junction and go straight on to the eastbound lane of the M62.
The new slip road had been proposed for some time, but the new £2.5m lane will now be just for cars with more than one occupant.
Some parts of the lane are being created using the existing hard-shoulder. The rest will be specially constructed.
Work is expected to finish in 2007.
It is claimed the lane will shave eight minutes off journey times for commuters using this route to travel from Bradford to Leeds.
Highways Agency studies show that southbound traffic from the M606 currently experiences an average of 15 minutes delay when joining the eastbound M62.
The studies also show that at peak times, 84% of vehicles on that stretch of road have only one occupant.
Mr Darling said: "Car sharing can help make journeys quicker and more reliable on this very busy stretch.
"This will be good for drivers and good for the environment.
"These measures alone will not solve the underlying problem of congestion. That is why we are looking at the benefits that road pricing might bring in tackling congestion on our roads."
He added: "This is an example of one of many motorways in this country where we can do something to combat congestion. Not everyone can share cars, but where they do it makes a contribution to reducing congestion.
"All over the world there are car sharing lanes and they can be enforced. The police will decide how to do that on a day to day basis".
Road pricing means charging drivers a fee proportional to how much they use the roads.
Another car share lane has been announced for the M1, between junctions 7 and 10.
Work to widen the motorway will start today , but that car share lane will not be operational until 2008.
National discussions are being held on how to make sure that only cars with more than one occupant use the car share lanes.
Until a decision is made, West Yorkshire Police will be patrolling the M606-M62 car share lane.
They will have a patrol car stationed on a raised platform.