We are pleased to announce that we have opened the second and final phase of the M1 smart motorway to traffic between junction 24 and 25 on Wednesday 27 February. During an overnight closure of the motorway, we removed the temporary 50mph speed limit and remaining traffic management restrictions. This means the smart motorway is now fully operational for speeds up to 70 mph throughout the whole stretch and drivers are already benefitting from smoother more reliable journeys on this vital route.
This stretch of the M1 is part of a strategic route between London and the North carrying on average 130,000 vehicles per day between Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. Work began in March 2017 to tackle to the congestion and unreliable journey times that were regularly experienced on the M1 around East Midlands Airport.
In December 2018 the first phase of opening took place, introducing variable mandatory speed limits between junctions 23a and 24. This phase also saw the opening of the new lane in both directions between junctions 24 and 25.
During January and February, we have been completing the testing and commissioning of the newly installed signs and signals between junctions 24 and 25. The successful completion of this work means we can be sure the technology is operating reliably and it was safe for us to open this stretch at speeds of up to 70mph.
As part of the smart motorway upgrade, the scheme has introduced new CCTV cameras and electronic information signs and signals on gantries, which show the variable mandatory speed limits and manage traffic flow and incidents. The scheme will also improve journeys through the capacity we have added, reducing congestion and making journeys more reliable on this vital route.
We would like to thank everyone for their co-operation and understanding while works were taking place on this major scheme.
Further information on driving on a smart motorway
There are some minor works left to complete, including areas of resurfacing, replacing lighting columns and installing vehicle restraint barriers. To minimise disruption, we will carry this work out overnight, under lane and carriageway closures. We expect to complete this work by the end of April.
You can find details of closures on the planned roadworks tab below.
Overnight closures will continue to be required while we complete the remaining works. Here is a full list of diversion routes:
- Diversion 1: M1 northbound carriageway road closure between J23a-24
- Diversion 2: M1 northbound carriageway road closure between J24-J24a
- Diversion 3: M1 northbound carriageway road closure between J24-J25
- Diversion 4: M1 southbound carriageway road closure between J25-J24
- Diversion 5: M1 southbound carriageway road closure between J24a-J24
- Diversion 6: M1 southbound carriageway road closure between J24a-J23a
- Diversion 7: M1 southbound carriageway road closure between J23a-J23
- Diversion 8: M1 northbound carriageway road closure between J23-J23a
|Autumn 2016||Public information exhibitions|
|Winter 2016||Project development phase ends|
|March 2017||Construction begins|
|December 2018||Main construction work ends|
|February 2019||Project fully open to traffic|
Why we need this scheme
The M1 is a strategic route that carries high volumes of heavy goods and other vehicles. Drivers currently experience congestion and unreliable journey times at busy periods and traffic is predicted to grow, particularly with the growth expected at East Midlands Airport.
The scheme in detail
In the 2014 Roads Investment Strategy, the M1 junction 23a-24 was confirmed as committed to extending the previously-announced M1 smart motorway junctions 24-25 improvement to junction 23a (East Midlands Airport).
The scheme will convert the M1 into a controlled motorway between junctions 23a and 24 and an all lane running smart motorway between junctions 24 and 25. In total we will be upgrading 7.5miles (12km), which is expected to begin main construction in early 2017 and complete in late 2018.
The scheme will involve:
- permanent conversion of the hard shoulder to create a fourth lane between junctions 24 and 25 and changing the junctions to accommodate this
- the introduction of variable mandatory speed limits with an associated enforcement/compliance system
- 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 throughout the length of the scheme
- the hardening of the central reserve and installation of a reinforced barrier to improve safety
- emergency roadside telephones (ERT) provided in within emergency refuge areas and in locations where the hard shoulder is retained
- queue detection and automatic signalling system, which provides queue protection and congestion management
- comprehensive low light pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) CCTV coverage
- reduce congestion and smooth the flow of traffic to improve travel times to make journeys more reliable
- support the economy and facilitate economic growth 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
An environmental screening exercise at an early stage of the project indicated that it was considered unlikely that there would be significant adverse effects resulting from the M1 junctions 23a to 25 smart motorway scheme.
Further investigation undertaken during scoping suggested that as the proposed works are wholly located within an existing motorway, no significant effects are predicted, therefore, a statutory environmental impact assessment (EIA) is not necessary. However, we recognise our duties of care to the environment and communities near our motorways and further assessment was undertaken and reported in an Environmental Study Report (ESR) in order to meet our responsibilities to identify, manage and monitor the effects of all our major developments.
The key issues considered include:
- air quality, in relation to housing and air quality management areas
- surveys for protected species and habitats including badgers and great crested newts
- to minimise the loss of woodland screening between the scheme and dwellings in Long Eaton and Sawley and to design mitigation to reinforce this screening for the future
Some sections of the existing noise barrier will be replaced and locations for additional barriers are currently being investigated.
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