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 smart motorway.

Region:  South East
Start date:  July 2018
Cost:  £92 million
Status:  CURRENT
Type:  Major Scheme
End date:  March 2020
Programme:  

Progress report

Construction work between junctions 3 and 5 is now complete and from 13 May 2020 this section will operate as a smart motorway.

This means there is extra capacity in each direction and technology which will help improve the flow of traffic.

Earlier in 2020 the Secretary of State for Transport announced an action plan for smart motorways and Highways England is taking forward the measures set out in that plan. For the M20 that work includes the roll-out of stopped vehicle detection technology within the next 36 months. Until then there will be extra traffic officer patrols on this stretch of the motorway and extra communication to help drivers.

Why we need this scheme

People use the M20 for national, regional and local journeys and the motorway supports a lot of regeneration and growth. The route also provides critical access to Dover, the Channel Tunnel, Heathrow, Gatwick and the wider south-east, south-west and the Midlands, via the M26 and M25.

Aims

This scheme aims to:

  • reduce congestion, 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 are already among the safest roads in the world

The scheme in detail

Smart motorways use the latest technology to sense traffic flow and set speed limits. This keeps traffic moving smoothly and prevents queues of traffic stopping and starting. The smart motorway design for the M20 between junctions 3 and 5 involves converting most of the hard shoulder to a traffic lane to create much-needed extra capacity. 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 changes we’ve made include:

  • converting the hard shoulder to create a permanent fourth lane between junctions 3 and 5
  • changing junction layouts to accommodate a fourth lane. 27 new and two refurbished gantries with variable message signs
  • new electronic information signs, signals and CCTV cameras - these will be used to vary speed limits and manage traffic flow and incidents
  • building five emergency areas. These have emergency roadside telephones and CCTV cameras to improve emergency service response times
  • changing the central reserve and replacing the old steel barrier with a concrete one to improve safety
  • adding new noise barriers in built-up areas
  • replacing Teapot Lane Footbridge at Aylesford
  • resurfacing lanes one and four between junction 3 and 5 in both directions with low-noise surfacing
  • improving drainage

Emergency refuge areas

As we’ve converted the hard shoulder into a fourth lane we’ve also installed five emergency refuge areas on this 10.5km stretch of smart motorway. This means there’s a either an emergency area or a stretch of hard should where we’ve kept it every 1,950 metres.

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

Driving on a smart motorway

A smart motorway uses technology to actively manage the flow of traffic. The technology is controlled from a regional traffic control centre. The control centres monitor traffic carefully and can activate and change signs and speed limits. This helps keep the traffic flowing freely.

Important advice for driving on a smart motorway:

  • never drive in a lane closed by a red “X”
  • keep to the speed limit shown on the gantries
  • a solid white line indicates the hard shoulder - don’t drive in it unless directed
  • a broken white line indicates a normal running lane
  • if your vehicle experiences difficulties, eg warning light, exit the smart motorway immediately if possible
  • use the refuge areas for emergencies if there’s no hard shoulder
  • put your hazard lights on if you break down

For more information, please visit our Smart Motorway guidance pages.

Project media files and documents

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 M20 westbound between junctions J7 and J6 . Lane Closures : Lanes 2 and 3 will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 10 August 2020 to 15 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 17 August 2020 to 22 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 24 August 2020 to 29 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 31 August 2020 to 5 September 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be two of four lanes closed.
Posted: August 8, 2020, 5:07 am
Location : The M20 westbound between junctions J6 and J5 . Lane Closures : Lanes 2 and 3 will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 10 August 2020 to 15 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 17 August 2020 to 22 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 24 August 2020 to 29 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 31 August 2020 to 5 September 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be two of three lanes closed.
Posted: August 8, 2020, 5:07 am
Location : The M20 westbound between junctions J8 and J7 . Lane Closures : Lanes 2 and 3 will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 10 August 2020 to 15 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 17 August 2020 to 22 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 24 August 2020 to 29 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 31 August 2020 to 5 September 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be two of three lanes closed.
Posted: August 8, 2020, 5:07 am
Location : The M20 eastbound between junctions J6 and J7 . Lane Closures : Lanes 2 and 3 will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 10 August 2020 to 15 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 17 August 2020 to 22 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 24 August 2020 to 29 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 31 August 2020 to 5 September 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be two of four lanes closed.
Posted: August 8, 2020, 5:07 am
Location : The M20 eastbound between junctions J7 and J8 . Lane Closures : Lanes 2 and 3 will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 10 August 2020 to 15 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 17 August 2020 to 22 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 24 August 2020 to 29 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 31 August 2020 to 5 September 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be two of three lanes closed.
Posted: August 8, 2020, 5:07 am
Location : The M20 eastbound between junctions J5 and J6 . Lane Closures : Lanes 2 and 3 will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 10 August 2020 to 15 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 17 August 2020 to 22 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 24 August 2020 to 29 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 31 August 2020 to 5 September 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be two of three lanes closed.
Posted: August 8, 2020, 5:07 am
Location : The M2 westbound between junctions J5 and J4 . Lane Closures : Lane two will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 10 August 2020 to 13 August 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: August 8, 2020, 5:06 am
Location : The M2 eastbound between junctions J4 and J5 . Lane Closures : Lane two will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 10 August 2020 to 13 August 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: August 8, 2020, 5:06 am
Location : The A2 westbound between the A227 and the junction with the A2260 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1, 2, 3 and 4 will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 8 August 2020 to 12:00 on 9 August 2020. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: August 8, 2020, 5:05 am
Location : The M20 eastbound between junctions J3 and J6 . Reason : Roadworks scheme. Status : Currently Active. Period : from 21:00 on 7 August 2020 to 06:00 on 27 September 2020.
Posted: August 7, 2020, 8:01 pm
Location : The M20 westbound between junctions J3 and J1 . Reason : Horticultural works are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 09:30 and 16:00 from 10 August 2020 to 14 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 09:30 and 16:00 from 17 August 2020 to 21 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 09:30 and 16:00 from 24 August 2020 to 28 August 2020. Schedule : From 09:30 on 31 August 2020 to 16:00 on 31 August 2020.
Posted: August 7, 2020, 3:00 pm
Location : The M20 eastbound between junctions J4 and J5 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 10 August 2020 to 17 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 7 September 2020 to 12 September 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be two of four lanes closed.
Posted: August 7, 2020, 10:50 am
Location : The M20 eastbound at junction J5 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 10 August 2020 to 17 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 7 September 2020 to 12 September 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be two of three lanes closed.
Posted: August 7, 2020, 10:50 am
Location : The A2 westbound. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 6 August 2020 to 05:30 on 7 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 10 August 2020 to 15 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 17 August 2020 to 22 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 24 August 2020 to 29 August 2020. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: August 7, 2020, 4:19 am
Location : The M2 westbound between junctions J5 and J4 . Reason : Roadworks scheme. Status : Currently Active. Period : from 20:01 on 3 August 2020 to 06:00 on 13 August 2020.
Posted: August 6, 2020, 4:54 pm
Location : The M26 westbound between junction J2A and the M25 . Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 09:30 and 16:00 from 13 August 2020 to 14 August 2020.
Posted: August 6, 2020, 8:40 am
Location : The M26 westbound between junction J2A and the M25 . Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 09:30 on 12 August 2020 to 16:00 on 12 August 2020.
Posted: August 5, 2020, 8:42 am
Location : The A2 eastbound between the A227 and the junction with the M2 . Lane Closures : Lanes 2 and 3 will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 10 August 2020 to 13 August 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be two of four lanes closed.
Posted: August 3, 2020, 7:22 pm
Location : The A2 eastbound between the junctions with the A227 and the M2 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1, 2, 3 and 4 will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 10 August 2020 to 13 August 2020. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: August 3, 2020, 7:22 pm
Location : The M2 eastbound between junctions J3 and J4 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 13 August 2020 to 15 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 17 August 2020 to 22 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 24 August 2020 to 28 August 2020. Schedule : From 20:00 on 1 September 2020 to 06:00 on 2 September 2020. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: August 3, 2020, 7:22 pm
Location : The M2 eastbound between junctions J1 and J3 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1, 2 and 3 will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 10 August 2020 to 13 August 2020. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: August 3, 2020, 7:22 pm
Location : The M2 eastbound entry slip at junction J2 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 10 August 2020 to 13 August 2020. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: August 3, 2020, 7:22 pm
Location : The A2 eastbound between the A227 and the junction with the M2 . Reason : Roadworks scheme is planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 10 August 2020 to 06:00 on 13 August 2020.
Posted: August 3, 2020, 7:22 pm
Location : The M2 eastbound between junctions J1 and J4 . Reason : Roadworks scheme is planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 10 August 2020 to 06:00 on 2 September 2020.
Posted: August 3, 2020, 7:22 pm
Location : The M2 eastbound at junction J3 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1, 2 and 3 will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 13 August 2020 to 15 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 17 August 2020 to 22 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 24 August 2020 to 28 August 2020. Schedule : From 20:00 on 1 September 2020 to 06:00 on 2 September 2020. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: August 3, 2020, 7:22 pm
Location : The M2 eastbound between junctions J4 and J5 . Reason : Roadworks scheme. Status : Currently Active. Period : from 20:01 on 3 August 2020 to 06:00 on 13 August 2020.
Posted: August 3, 2020, 7:01 pm
Location : The M26 westbound between junctions J3 and J2A . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 9 August 2020 to 11 August 2020. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: August 2, 2020, 7:12 pm
Location : The M20 westbound at junction J4 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1, 2, 3 and 4 will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 9 August 2020 to 11 August 2020. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: August 2, 2020, 7:12 pm
Location : The M20 westbound between junctions J4 and J2 . Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 9 August 2020 to 11 August 2020. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: August 2, 2020, 7:12 pm
Location : The M20 westbound between junctions J4 and J2 . Reason : Roadworks scheme is planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 9 August 2020 to 06:00 on 11 August 2020.
Posted: August 2, 2020, 7:12 pm
Location : The M20 westbound between junctions J8 and J6 . Reason : Roadworks scheme. Status : Currently Active. Period : from 20:00 on 29 July 2020 to 06:00 on 16 October 2020.
Posted: July 31, 2020, 12:29 pm
Location : The M20 eastbound between junctions J5 and J8 . Reason : Roadworks scheme. Status : Currently Active. Period : from 20:00 on 29 July 2020 to 06:00 on 16 October 2020.
Posted: July 31, 2020, 12:26 pm

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