The 1.7mile High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane will link the southbound M606 near Bradford to the eastbound M62 towards Leeds in a bid to reduce congestion at the busy Chain Bar junction.

Studies have shown that up to 84% of vehicles using the junction currently have only one occupant

The new lane, which can be used by any car carrying two or more people, is expected to open to vehicles in spring 2008.

Transport minister Tom Harris said: “Car sharing is good for drivers and good for the environment.

“This trial in west Yorkshire is just one of a series of innovative and imaginative measures being used on the motorway network to tackle congestion and make the best possible use of our available road space.”

He added: “This new High Occupancy Vehicle lane will give drivers the opportunity to reduce their journey time and make more efficient use of the available road space by sharing their vehicle.”

The HOV lane will also be open to coaches, buses, motorcycles and any minibuses or taxis carrying passengers. Lorries will not be able to use the lane.

Car share lanes have already been used extensively in other countries, including the United States, and on a number of local authority roads in the UK, including the A647 in Leeds.

The car pool lane is expected to reduce average journey times by about eight minutes once it is open.

However, motorists could be facing months of delays as a result of lane closures and speed restrictions while work takes place.

Kate Martin

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