M1 works headache soon to be at an end
Should be completed this month
TENS of thousands of drivers will be breathing a sigh of relief with work set to be completed this month on a section of the M1 which is being turned into a ‘smart motorway.’
Highways England, which is responsible for motorways, plans to complete construction between junctions 23a and 25, near to East Midlands Airport, in Castle Donington, as part of the £120m scheme in December.
The smart motorway project sees the hard shoulder converted into a lane, with all lanes controlled by a central system with overhead gantry signs to tell drivers which lanes are open in the event of accidents and other incidents.
Since the start of the project in March 2017, work has included installing 35 gantries, constructing 11,000 metres of new concrete barrier and installing 3,060 metres of new environmental barriers.
In the final few months, workmen have been installing the remaining gantries, continuing with the central reserve works in the south end of the scheme, continuing with technology works and resurfacing all lanes throughout the length of the scheme, said a spokesman.
The scheme has seen Highways England improve 7.5 miles of the route in a project which aims to make journeys faster and more reliable by providing an extra lane in each direction, particularly around East Midlands Airport, he said.
The M1 carries more than 130,000 vehicles per day between Leicester- shire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
It will be upgraded to a smart motorway between Diseworth (junction 23a) and Risley (junction 25).
The scheme will also introduce new CCTV cameras and electronic information signs and signals on gantries - these will show the variable mandatory speed limits and manage traffic flow and incidents.
Emergency refuge areas will also be installed throughout the length of the scheme with the installation of a reinforced barrier and hardened central reserve to further improve safety, he said.
The aim of the project is to reduce congestion and make the flow of traffic smoother to improve travel times and make journeys more reliable.
It also aims to support the economy and facilitate economic growth within the region by providing much-needed capacity on the motorway, reducing the cost of delays to commuters and business traffic.
It is also hoped to maximise motorway capacity while maintaining safety on motorways and minimising environmental impacts.