M1 junction 13 to junction 16: smart motorway

We’re improving the 23-mile section of the M1 between junctions 13 and 16 by upgrading it to an All-Lane Running (ALR) smart motorway to support economic growth and ease congestion in the area.

Start date Started
End date 2022-23
Cost £373 million

Latest updates

  • 19 January 2021

    Upcoming works

    Between junction 15a and junction 16, we’ve made good progress in our job to complete the verge-retaining walls. And we’ve begun to remove the temporary vehicle barrier between junction 13 and junction 14. Once removed, lane 1 (the left-hand lane) will still be closed to vehicles by traffic cones. We will keep the cones in place until we complete the re-surfacing of the carriageway and change the lane markings for the new motorway layout. This section of road will then be completed and open as a smart motorway later in spring 2021.

    We’re working hard so that we can open further sections of the new motorway layout throughout 2021 and during the first half of 2022. This involves the installation of many kilometres of drainage pipes and CCTV and emergency telephone ducting, construction of bases for the overhead steel gantries which show the electronic message signs, and installation of all the new technology.

     What's next?
    • Re-surfacing and refreshing road markings between junction 13 and 14
    • Installing drainage and communication ducting between Newport Pagnell Services and junction 16
    • Erection of steel overhead gantries to hold the message signs in the area north of Newport Pagnell Services
    • Reinforcing the concrete extension of the Cattle Creep underpass between junction 14 and 15.
    • Installing sheet pile walls against the verge north of junction 15.

     

    M1 junction 13 to 16 progress

    In March 2021, we’ll have finished our work between junctions 13 to 14 of the M1

Project information

Overview

We’re converting the existing section of the M1 from Junction 13 at Milton Keynes South to Junction 16 at the Upper Heyford Interchange (A45 to Daventry, A4500 to Northampton) into a smart motorway. 

The project involves: 

  • converting the motorway between junctions 13 to 16 into four lanes of traffic with no hard shoulder 
  • installing 38 new (and two upgraded) emergency areas with emergency roadside telephones 
  • new overhead gantries and electronic signs to show the variable speed limits and provide driver information  
  • new and replacement safety barriers in the central reservation and verge areas 
  • CCTV cameras 
  • new noise barriers and partial replacement of the existing noise barrier 
  • planting trees and bushes to replace any removed during construction

 

Covid-19

During the pandemic, we are following Government policy which is that construction activity should continue where it can be done safely. All our sites have strict safeguarding measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and none of our sites are open to the public. With traffic volumes on our roads still lower than usual, we are taking the opportunity to push ahead with our work before traffic levels return to normal. We plan our work carefully in order to minimise disruption to motorists.

Safety

During the current roadworks, there is no place for motorists to stop or leave the motorway other than the exit slip roads or motorway service areas. A free vehicle recovery service is offered for motorists who breakdown in our roadworks.

Always try to exit the motorway immediately if your vehicle is damaged or experiencing difficulties. If this is not possible and your vehicle stops in the nearside lane (lane 1) and you feel able to exit safely with any occupants, try to exit your vehicle via the nearside (left hand) door, and wait behind the safety barriers on the verge if it's safe to do so. In all cases, switch on your hazard warning lights.

 

The M1 is a key strategic road, carrying high volumes of heavy goods and other vehicles between London and the North. 

This project will help ease congestion and make journey times more reliable during busy periods on this stretch of motorway. 

Our project aims to: 

  • reduce congestion and smooth the flow of traffic to improve travel times and make journeys more reliable between BedfordshireMilton Keynes and Northamptonshire.  
  • support the economy within the region by providing much needed capacity on the motorway, reducing the cost of economic delay to commuters and business traffic 
  • maximise motorway capacity while maintaining safety on motorways 
  • minimise environmental impacts 

Traffic management

While we're carrying out this work, there will be narrow lanes on the motorway and a reduced speed. During the day-time, we'll keep three lanes open in each direction. To carry out essential works, off-peak lane closures and overnight full carriageway closures will be necessary, for example, when we put new gantries into position and resurface the carriageway. Wherever possible, we'll keep this to a minimum. Night-time working hours will vary depending on traffic conditions.

During construction, there will be:

  • Three lanes open to traffic in each direction
  • Free breakdown recovery service along the extent of the scheme
  • 24-hour CCTV coverage to identify incidents and allow timely recovery
  • Planned diversion routes

Length of roadworks

We're carrying out this work in a way that will create the minimum of disruption to drivers using this busy stretch of the M1.

We'll be working in phases to reduce the extent of roadworks and the timescales for completing the scheme. 

Roadworks and traffic management

Safety is at the heart of what we do. Working close to machinery and live traffic brings hazards, so it’s important that our staff have regular rest breaks. If it appears that work is only taking place on one small section of the road, staff may be on their rest breaks. Alternatively, they may be moving steadily along the coned-off lane.

Reduced speed limits help keep all road users safe, not just road workers. Roadwork sites can be dangerous places. The driving environment around roadworks can be very different from normal. There may be changes to the normal standard of carriageway, such as lane restrictions or contra-flow running, as well as works vehicles entering or leaving the site. Excavations, vehicles and equipment pose additional risks and the safety of road users is always our primary consideration.

Roadworks during public holidays

Where possible, we'll remove traffic management during public holidays.

M1 junction 11a to 14 North and South diversion

M1 junction 13 to 14 North and South diversion

M1 junction 14 to 15 North and South diversion

M1 junction 14 to 15 North and South diversion – alternative

M1 junction 15 to 15a North and South diversion

M1 junction 15a to 16 North and South diversion

M1 junction 18 to 16 South diversion

An environmental screening exercise at an early stage of the project indicated that it was considered unlikely there would be significant adverse effects resulting from the M1 junctions 13 to 16 smart motorway scheme. The key issues considered include:

  • air quality mitigation, in relation to housing and air quality management areas
  • surveys for protected species and habitats including bats, badgers dormouse and great crested newts
  • to minimise the loss of vegetative screening along the scheme and to design mitigation to reinforce screening for the future

Some sections of the existing noise barrier will be replaced with new sections of environmental barrier as they have reached the end of life. Additional noise barriers will also be delivered as part of the scheme design at a number of Noise Important Areas.

Documents

M1 junction 13 to junction 16 environmental study report (ESR)
ESR Appendix B - Air Quality
ESR Appendix C - Noise and Vibration
ESR Appendix D - Landscape and Visual
ESR Appendix E - Cultural Heritage
ESR Appendix - Affected Road Network 2021
ESR Appendix - Air Quality Management Areas
ESR Appendix - Committed Developments
ESR Appendix - Compliance Risk Road Network
ESR Appendix - Construction Noise and Vibration diversion routes J13-14 northbound
ESR Appendix - Construction Noise and Vibration diversion routes J13-14 southbound
ESR Appendix - Construction Noise and Vibration diversion routes J14-15 northbound
ESR Appendix - Construction Noise and Vibration diversion routes J14-15 southbound
ESR Appendix - Construction Noise and Vibration diversion routes J15a-16 northbound
ESR Appendix - Construction Noise and Vibration diversion routes J15a-16 southbound
ESR Appendix - Construction noise. Areas of potential significant adverse effects
ESR Appendix - Construction vibration. Areas of potential significant adverse effects
ESR Appendix - Cultural Heritage Receptors
ESR Appendix - Discussion Region Receptors
ESR Appendix - Do Something Results 2021
ESR Appendix - Ecological Receptors
ESR Appendix - Enviromental Masterplan (mitigation strategy)
ESR Appendix - Flood Risk from Rivers
ESR Appendix - Landscape Character, Viewpoints and Visibility
ESR Appendix - Location and results of noise survey
ESR Appendix - Monitoring Locations
ESR Appendix - Operational road traffic noise. Long term Do-Minimum comparison day time
ESR Appendix - Operational road traffic noise. Long term Do-Minimum comparison night time
ESR Appendix - Operational road traffic noise. Long term Do-Something comparison day time
ESR Appendix - Operational road traffic noise. Long term Do-Something comparison night time
ESR Appendix - Operational road traffic noise. Proposed Noise Barriers
ESR Appendix - Operational road traffic noise. Short-term comparison day time
ESR Appendix - Scheme Location
ESR Appendix - Surface Water Flood Risk
ESR Appendix - Verification Zones
ESR Appendix - Viewpoint Photographs

Traffic information

Information about scheduled roadworks and events on our motorways and major roads.

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