‘Smart’ motorways, designed to beat congestion at peak hours, have become increasingly common across the UK in recent years.
They work by using overhead signs to vary mandatory speed limits, and can also open up the hard shoulder to traffic at busy times. Safety is maintained by creating emergency refuge areas for any driver who breaks down.
Sections of Nottingham’s highways have already been converted to smart motorways, including the section of the M1 between junctions 28 for Mansfield and 31 for Worksop. Opening in April 2016, this 20-mile stretch of road was given an extra lane and gantries for variable speed limits, with the aim of busting congestion.
Of course, the project caused major disruption for many months, which generated problems for commercial vehicle fleets and private car owners alike. The same thing is now happening on a 7½ mile stretch of the M1 between junction 23a and junction 25, which is being upgraded in part to handle increased traffic to East Midlands Airport.
How long will work to upgrade this section of the M1 last?
The project to upgrade this section of the M1 is scheduled for completion in late 2018. Until then, you can expect delays and lane closures on this stretch of road. You can find daily updates at www.trafficdelays.co.uk/m1-traffic-delays/ to help plan the most efficient journeys for your fleet.
What does the smart motorway upgrade entail?
The upgrade is a major project, involving many different changes and modifications. They include:
- Converting the hard shoulder into a fourth lane between junctions 24 and 25, with new junctions to handle this
- Installation of gantries to display variable speed limits
- CCTV and a queue detection system to manage traffic flow
- New emergency refuge areas
- Installation of a reinforced barrier in the central reservation
- New emergency phones at refuge areas and in places where the hard shoulder has been retained.
While the work itself is likely to cause problems for fleets, the end result should be worth it and you’ll benefit from shorter journey times and fewer delays. The end of 2018 may seem a long way off still, but there is definitely a result that’s going to be worth waiting for.