M20 junctions 3 to 5: smart motorway

We're improving the busy 6.5 mile (10.5km) stretch of the M20 between Junction 3 at West Malling and Junction 5 at Aylesford by upgrading it to an All-Lane Running (ALR) smart motorway.

Region:  South East
Start date:  2017/18
Cost:  £90m - £120m
Status:  CURRENT
Type:  Major Scheme
End date:  2019/20
Programme:  

Progress report

Full construction work on the scheme begins in early July. To maintain three lanes and to create space for our road workers we will be installing narrow lanes from late June. Overnight closures of the motorway will be necessary to achieve this. Our diversion routes have been approved by Kent County Council. Maps of these routes are available below.

We're currently carrying out another, limited round of vegetation clearance to create space for structures added during the final stage of the scheme design. Because this work is happening while wildlife is active, we're following guidance from Natural England and only clearing 50m2 at a time.

We finalised the scheme design and enabling works started in March 2018 in partnership with our delivery partner, Kier. This involved establishing a site compound and installation of temporary CCTV.

We held public information exhibitions between September and January 2017 and in April and May 2018 to inform the public about the scheme and answer any concerns about the upcoming works.

Early environmental works started in December and included vegetation and tree clearance along the verge.

What's next

White line removal: 18 June to 6 July: starting at J2 working eastbound, then J6 working westbound

One of our first jobs will be to prepare the motorway for the narrow lanes that will be starting from 25 June. This involves removing the white lines and repairing damaged joints in the carriageway surface. This work will be undertaken at night and will create some noise as we pass along the carriageway. We will do everything we can to minimise noise, but some noise is inevitable.

Works in the motorway verge: July 2018 to March 2019

Construction will start in the motorway verge. This will include: replacing drainage pipes, installing new lighting in parts of the scheme and cabling, building emergency refuge areas, installing new noise barriers, installing new gantries and taking down obsolete ones and resurfacing lane 1 between junctions 3 and 5.

Works in the central reserve: March 2019 to December 2019

When the work in the verge is complete, we will move to the central reserve where work will include: removing the metal fencing and replacing this with a solid concrete barrier and resurfacing lane 4 between junctions 3 and 5.

The scheme is expected to be completed by March 2020.

Please note, all dates are subject to change depending on weather and other factors.

Timeline

Date Event
2016 to March 2018 Design works
March 2018 Start of advanced works
July 2018 Start of main works
March 2020 Completion of main works

Community events

Upgrading the M20 to a smart motorway involves installing a lot of technology and infrastructure as well as converting the hard shoulder to a permanent driving lane. Between July 2018 and March 2020 construction work will include taking down and replacing the deck of Teapot Lane footbridge; installing new gantries that display travel information, lane availability and variable speeds when necessary; new drainage; and additional noise barriers in some areas.

If you live close to the motorway you're likely to hear and see the work we're doing, and sometimes this work will need to take place at night, as well as during the day. We're running two events where we'll use computer software and videos to show you what the new smart motorway will look like. Engineers responsible for the construction will explain how we will build it and what to expect if you live nearby.

Aylesford Secondary School
Monday 16 July 6pm to 8pm
Drop-in exhibition 6pm to 8pm
Presentation with Q&A at 7pm

Ryarsh Village Hall
Thursday 26 July 7pm to 9pm
Drop-in exhibition 7pm to 9pm
Presentation with Q&A at 8pm

Why we need this scheme

The M20 Junctions 3 to 5 forms part of a principal route that provides key links via Dover and Channel Tunnel to and from mainland Europe. As such, it facilitates national, regional and local travel, and regeneration and growth. Furthermore, the route provides critical access via the M26/M25 to London, the airports of Heathrow and Gatwick and to the wider South-East, South-West and the Midlands.

The M20 at junctions 3 to 5 currently suffers frequent delays due to the volume of traffic. This scheme will provide greater traffic capacity and more reliable journey times by improving the flow of traffic.

Aims

This scheme aims to:

  • reduce congestion by smoothing the flow of traffic to improve journey times and make them more reliable
  • facilitate economic growth within the region, by providing much needed capacity on the motorway
  • maximise motorway capacity while maintaining safety on motorways, which already are among the safest roads in the world

The scheme in detail

We're converting a section of the M20 into a smart motorway. Smart motorways use the latest technology to improve journeys by sensing traffic flow and setting speed limits accordingly to keep traffic moving smoothly, instead of continually stopping and starting. The smart motorway proposals on the M20, between junctions 3 and 5, involve converting most of the hard shoulder permanently to a traffic lane to create much-needed extra capacity to support economic growth.

There will be more gantries and electronic road signs on the motorway to give information about road conditions and speed limits to help smooth the flow of traffic.

The proposed scheme will enable proactive management of the M20 carriageway, including the link roads from/to the M26 at junction 3 (the junction with the M26) to junction 4, including the junction 4 east-bound off-slip and west-bound on-slip.

It will also extend the existing variable mandatory speed limit to encompass the current hard shoulder between junction 4 and junction 5, including the junction realignments at junctions 4 and 5.

The scheme includes:

  • converting the hard shoulder to create a permanent fourth lane between junctions 3 and 5
  • redefined junction layouts to accommodate the fourth lane. Junction 3 and junction 4 eastbound will have three lanes and a hard shoulder. Junction 4 westbound and junction 5 will have four lanes and no hard shoulder
  • new and refurbished gantries with variable message signs
  • installing new electronic information signs, signals and CCTV cameras - these will be used to vary speed limits and manage traffic flow and incidents
  • installing five emergency areas to use in place of the hard shoulder which include Emergency Roadside Telephones (SOS) and CCTV cameras to improve emergency service response times
  • improving the central reserve and adding a reinforced barrier to improve safety
  • adding new noise barriers in built up areas
  • replacement of the Teapot Lane Footbridge deck at Aylesford to accommodate the hardshoulder conversion to a running lane
  • resurfacing lanes 1 and 4 in both directions with a lower noise surface
  • improvement of drainage

To ensure the scheme is operational on opening, there are various factors that need to be addressed. These include:

  • the removal of the steel central reserve barrier and replacement with a concrete barrier
  • road restraint in the verge
  • central reserve / hard shoulder hardening (i.e. removal of the soft verge)
  • construction of Emergency Refuge Areas
  • implementing new drainage systems
  • removal of existing signs and gantries, and replacement with upgraded infrastructure
  • new communications infrastructure between the signage and the Regional Control Centre
  • new CCTV cameras with full (infrared) coverage
  • partial carriageway resurfacing with a lower noise surface

Emergency refuge areas

As the hard shoulder will be converted into a fourth lane, we'll be installing emergency refuge areas. On this stretch of smart motorway, the distance between safe places will be approximately 1950m. This includes both emergency areas and hard shoulder where available.

For further information on driving on Smart Motorways, please view our guide: How to drive on a smart motorway.

Because we are working within the Highway Boundary and our environmental studies so far indicate that air quality and noise impacts are not significant, we do not believe anyone will be entitled to compensation. Details on our compensation policies are available on the Highways England website.

Teapot Lane Footbridge

We're temporarily closing access to Teapot Lane Footbridge from the evening of Thursday 26 July 2018. This is because the bridge deck is being replaced to increase the height of the bridge. We're doing this work because we're converting the hard shoulder of the M20 into a traffic lane and need to allow space for vehicles on this lane.

To cross the motorway without the footbridge, a temporary diversion is recommended via Station Road, which crosses the M20 approximately 450m to the west of the footbridge and Robson Drive. This route is suitable for both pedestrians and cyclists, with an additional journey time of approximately 11 minutes and 5 minutes respectively. Installation of a temporary crossing was considered but due to the limited space available this is not feasible.

We'll take down the footbridge deck between Friday 27 July and Sunday 29 July and the M20 will be closed in this area to enable this work to take place. The work will involve dismantling the bridge and taking the debris to a local recycling centre. To enable us to re-open the motorway in time for the Monday morning rush hour, we'll need to work day and night over the weekend.

We aim to re-open the footbridge on the morning of Monday 3 September. However, if the construction programme is extended, for example due to adverse weather conditions or additional safety checks, then the bridge might not re-open until Monday 10 September.

We're aware this will particularly impact people who use the local schools. We've liaised with representatives from local schools, including Aylesford Primary and Pre-School and Aylesford Sports College, and other local stakeholders around the timing of the work to the bridge deck in relation to closures to minimise disruption. We'll also engage with these stakeholders in relation to road safety and other relevant matters as well as working in partnership with local stakeholders to deliver projects to make life easier for those affected when the work is taking place.

Diversions

M20 Diversion Map J4 Eastbound ENTRY

M20 Diversion Map J4 Eastbound EXIT

M20 Diversion Map J5 Eastbound EXIT

M20 Diversion Map M20 J2 to J4

M20 Diversion Map M20 J2 to J5

M20 Diversion Map M26 2A to M20

M20 Eastbound J4-6 Diversion

Environmental impact

We have undertaken an environmental assessment that covers topics including noise and vibration, air quality, ecology and visual impacts.

The overall conclusion using specified guidance regarding the effect of the Proposed Scheme is that there would be no significant adverse effect on local air quality. Assessments shows that there will be no exceedances of the annual mean NO2 UK AQS objective in the future year (2019) with or without the Proposed Scheme. There is not expected to be a compliance risk due to the Proposed Scheme. Trend analysis from continuous monitoring sites indicated that there were statistically significant downward trends in annual mean NO2 concentrations in the area.

During construction, significant daytime noise impacts during the proposed construction works are not anticipated at neighbouring properties, based on the likely worst-case noise predictions undertaken.

We have carried out surveys for protected species, including Dormice, adjacent to the motorway. Mitigation work will be undertaken within Natural England licenses. The vegetation clearance has to be undertaken at certain times of the year to minimise disruption to wildlife.

We will retain existing screening planting where possible and propose additional planting upon completion of the scheme to minimise views of the motorway and associated equipment.

We are installing new environmental barriers to minimise noise effects. The type is dictated by what is needed at each location; reflective barriers push noise back across the source (away from residents) and into the atmosphere. Absorptive barriers take in noise, reducing the noise energy that reaches residents. Both types of barriers reduce the amount of noise reaching the residents.

The new lanes (termed Lanes 1 and 4) will have low noise pavement. The existing lanes are in good condition and do not require resurfacing as part of this scheme. Highways England will resurface these lanes when the condition of pavement falls below our high standards.

We will be working at night. This is because we need to keep three lanes running on the motorway in peak hours. This restricts the available working area and consequently we are required to undertake significant amounts of works at night. Examples of work we will carry out at night include: gantry removal and installation and resurfacing.

Wherever possible, the noisier operations will be undertaken during daytime hours. If the work we’re planning to do means we have to move or extend the Traffic Management (for example if we need to close additional lanes), then the work will be undertaken at night. We will make every effort to limit the time taken on this type of work.

Project media files and documents

There are no images for this project

Project timeline

Planned roadworks

Roadworks and Events for England

The latest incident information for England's motorway and trunk routes provided by Highways England

Location : The M2 westbound at junction J2 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 are closed. Reason : Emergency barrier repairs. Status : Currently Active. Lanes Closed : There are two of three lanes closed.
Posted: July 20, 2018, 5:00 am
Location : The M20 westbound between junctions J4 and J2 . Lane Closures : The hard shoulder is closed. Reason : Roadworks. Status : Currently Active. Period : expect disruption until 06:00 on 30 March 2019.
Posted: July 20, 2018, 4:49 am
Location : The M20 westbound between junctions J4 and J2 . Reason : Roadworks scheme. Status : Currently Active. Period : from 12:01 on 9 July 2018 to 06:00 on 30 March 2019.
Posted: July 20, 2018, 4:49 am
Location : The M2 westbound between junctions J3 and J2 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 are closed. Reason : Emergency barrier repairs. Status : Currently Active. Period : expect disruption until 06:00 on 20 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There are two of four lanes closed.
Posted: July 20, 2018, 4:38 am
Location : The M2 westbound at junction J3 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 are closed. Reason : Emergency barrier repairs. Status : Currently Active. Period : expect disruption until 06:00 on 20 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There are two of three lanes closed.
Posted: July 20, 2018, 4:38 am
Location : The M20 westbound exit slip at junction J8 . Reason : Roadworks. Status : Currently Active. Period : expect disruption until 06:00 on 20 July 2018. Lanes Closed : All lanes are closed.
Posted: July 19, 2018, 7:06 pm
Location : The M2 westbound exit slip at junction J2 . Lane Closures : Lane one is closed. Reason : Emergency barrier repairs. Status : Currently Active. Period : expect disruption until 06:00 on 20 July 2018. Lanes Closed : All lanes are closed.
Posted: July 19, 2018, 7:02 pm
Location : The M20 westbound entry slip at junction J8 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 24 July 2018 to 06:00 on 25 July 2018. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: July 19, 2018, 2:30 pm
Location : The M20 westbound entry slip at junction J8 . Reason : Roadworks scheme is planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 24 July 2018 to 06:00 on 25 July 2018.
Posted: July 19, 2018, 2:30 pm
Location : The M2 eastbound between junctions J2 and J3 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency barrier repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 23 July 2018 to 06:00 on 24 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of four lanes closed.
Posted: July 19, 2018, 10:31 am
Location : The M2 westbound between junctions J3 and J2 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed. Reason : Emergency barrier repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 20 July 2018 to 06:00 on 21 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be two of four lanes closed.
Posted: July 19, 2018, 10:30 am
Location : The M2 westbound between junctions J2 and J1 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed. Reason : Emergency barrier repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 20 July 2018 to 06:00 on 21 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be two of three lanes closed.
Posted: July 19, 2018, 10:30 am
Location : The M2 eastbound between junctions J4 and J6 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 20 July 2018 to 06:00 on 21 July 2018. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: July 19, 2018, 9:30 am
Location : The M2 eastbound between junctions J4 and J7 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 21 July 2018 to 06:00 on 22 July 2018. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: July 19, 2018, 9:30 am
Location : The M2 eastbound between junctions J4 and J7 . Reason : Roadworks scheme is planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 20 July 2018 to 06:00 on 22 July 2018.
Posted: July 19, 2018, 9:30 am
Location : The M2 westbound entry slip at Medway Services. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 23 July 2018 to 26 July 2018. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: July 18, 2018, 1:41 pm
Location : The M2 eastbound between junctions J1 and J2 . Lane Closures : Lane three will be closed. Reason : Emergency barrier repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 20 July 2018 to 06:00 on 21 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of four lanes closed.
Posted: July 18, 2018, 1:41 pm
Location : The M2 westbound between junctions J4 and J3 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 23 July 2018 to 26 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: July 18, 2018, 1:41 pm
Location : The M2 eastbound at junction J2 . Lane Closures : Lane three will be closed. Reason : Emergency barrier repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 20 July 2018 to 06:00 on 21 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: July 18, 2018, 1:41 pm
Location : The M20 westbound between junctions J9 and J8 . Lane Closures : Lane three will be closed. Reason : Emergency gantry construction is planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 20 July 2018 to 06:00 on 21 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: July 18, 2018, 1:41 pm
Location : The M2 eastbound between junctions J4 and J5 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 23 July 2018 to 26 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: July 18, 2018, 1:41 pm
Location : The M2 eastbound between junctions J3 and J4 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency barrier repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 20 July 2018 to 06:00 on 21 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: July 18, 2018, 1:41 pm
Location : The A2 eastbound between the M25 and the junction with the A2260 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency barrier repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 20 July 2018 to 06:00 on 21 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of four lanes closed.
Posted: July 18, 2018, 1:41 pm
Location : The M2 westbound exit slip at junction J3 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 23 July 2018 to 26 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: July 18, 2018, 1:41 pm
Location : The M2 eastbound exit slip at junction J4 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency barrier repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 20 July 2018 to 06:00 on 21 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: July 18, 2018, 1:41 pm
Location : The M2 eastbound between junctions J2 and J3 . Lane Closures : Lane three will be closed. Reason : Emergency barrier repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 20 July 2018 to 06:00 on 21 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of four lanes closed.
Posted: July 18, 2018, 1:41 pm
Location : The M2 eastbound entry slip at junction J4 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 23 July 2018 to 26 July 2018. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: July 18, 2018, 1:41 pm
Location : The M2 eastbound at junction J4 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 23 July 2018 to 26 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: July 18, 2018, 1:41 pm
Location : The M2 eastbound between junctions J3 and J4 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 23 July 2018 to 26 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of four lanes closed.
Posted: July 18, 2018, 1:41 pm
Location : The M20 eastbound between junctions J8 and J9 . Lane Closures : Lane three will be closed. Reason : Emergency gantry construction is planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 20 July 2018 to 06:00 on 21 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: July 18, 2018, 1:41 pm
Location : The M2 westbound between junctions J5 and J4 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 23 July 2018 to 26 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: July 18, 2018, 1:41 pm
Location : The M2 eastbound between junctions J3 and J4 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency barrier repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 20 July 2018 to 06:00 on 21 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: July 18, 2018, 1:41 pm
Location : The M20 eastbound between junctions J1 and J7 . Reason : Roadworks scheme. Status : Currently Active. Period : from 20:03 on 13 July 2018 to 06:00 on 30 July 2018.
Posted: July 18, 2018, 1:41 pm
Location : The M2 eastbound between junctions J3 and J4 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 23 July 2018 to 26 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: July 18, 2018, 1:41 pm
Location : The M2 westbound entry slip at junction J4 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 23 July 2018 to 26 July 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: July 18, 2018, 1:41 pm

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