M20 junctions 3 to 5: smart motorwayRecently updated

We are 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

We have finalised the scheme design and enabling works started in March 2018 in partnership with our delivery partner, Kier.

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

We have agreed suitable diversion routes with Kent County Council.

Early environmental works started in December and are now nearly complete; this included vegetation and tree clearance along the verge. This clearance was undertaken at night time to minimise the impact on motorway traffic and was necessary to accommodate new retaining walls, noise barriers, gantries and emergency areas as part of the scheme.

Advanced works started in late March 2018. This involved pre-construction surveys, establishing a site compound and installation of temporary CCTV.

What's next

Main construction works on this project will start in July 2018. This will follow the implementation of narrow lanes in late June.

To implement narrow lanes, we will require a series of overnight closures, for more information on these closures, see the roadworks tab below.

The works will commence at junction 3 and move east towards junction 5. We'll be initially working in the verge. Once the verge works are complete, we'll change the arrangement of narrow lanes and commence working in the central reserve.

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

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 are 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 to 5, involve converting most of the hard shoulder permanently to a traffic lane to create much needed extra capacity needed 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 Junction 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 5 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 replacing 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 replacing 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 will 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

Teapot Lane Footbridge deck will be replaced to facilitate turning the hard shoulder into an All Lane Running lane as the height of the bridge is not high enough at the sides.

To cross the motorway without a footbridge, a temporary diversion will be possible via Station Road, which crosses the M20 approximately 450m to the west. This route is suitable for both pedestrians and cyclists with a delay of approximately 11mins and 5mins respectively. Installation of a temporary crossing was considered but due to the limited space available this is not feasible.

We are aware this will impact people who use the local schools. We will liaise 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 will 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.

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 M20 eastbound between junctions J4 and J6 . Lane Closures : The hard shoulder is closed. Reason : Roadworks. Status : Currently Active. Period : expect disruption until 20:00 on 25 May 2018.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 1:00 pm
Location : The M20 eastbound between junctions J4 and J6 . Reason : Roadworks scheme. Status : Currently Active. Period : from 07:40 on 17 May 2018 to 20:00 on 25 May 2018.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 1:00 pm
Location : The M20 westbound between junctions J4 and J2 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1, 2 and 3 will be closed. Reason : Road repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 23:00 on 25 May 2018 to 05:00 on 26 May 2018. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 12:30 pm
Location : The A2 westbound between the M2 and the junction with the A227 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 29 May 2018 to 06:00 on 30 May 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of four lanes closed.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 12:30 pm
Location : The M20 westbound between junctions J9 and J8 . Reason : Roadworks scheme is planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 09:00 on 29 May 2018 to 16:00 on 1 June 2018.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 12:30 pm
Location : The A2 eastbound between the A227 and the junction with the M2 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 29 May 2018 to 06:00 on 30 May 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of four lanes closed.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 12:30 pm
Location : The M20 westbound between junctions J3 and J1 . Lane Closures : Lanes 2 and 3 will be closed. Reason : Emergency litter clearance is planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 22:00 on 29 May 2018 to 05:00 on 30 May 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be two of three lanes closed.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 12:30 pm
Location : The A2 eastbound between the A2260 and the junction with the A227 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 31 May 2018 to 06:00 on 1 June 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of four lanes closed.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 12:30 pm
Location : The M20 westbound between junctions J9 and J8 . Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 09:00 on 31 May 2018 to 16:00 on 31 May 2018.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 12:30 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 29 May 2018 to 06:00 on 30 May 2018. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 30 May 2018 to 2 June 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of four lanes closed.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 12:30 pm
Location : The A2 eastbound between the A227 and the junction with the M2 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 30 May 2018 to 06:00 on 31 May 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of four lanes closed.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 12:30 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 29 May 2018 to 06:00 on 30 May 2018. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 30 May 2018 to 2 June 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 12:30 pm
Location : The M20 westbound between junctions J9 and J8 . Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 09:00 on 29 May 2018 to 16:00 on 29 May 2018.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 12:30 pm
Location : The M2 eastbound at junction J3 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency barrier repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 29 May 2018 to 06:00 on 30 May 2018. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 30 May 2018 to 2 June 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 12:30 pm
Location : The M20 westbound between junctions J9 and J8 . Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 09:00 on 30 May 2018 to 16:00 on 30 May 2018.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 12:30 pm
Location : The A2 westbound between the M2 and the junction with the A227 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 30 May 2018 to 06:00 on 31 May 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of four lanes closed.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 12:30 pm
Location : The M20 westbound between junctions J9 and J8 . Lane Closures : Lane three will be closed. Reason : Emergency barrier repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 25 May 2018 to 06:00 on 26 May 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 12:30 pm
Location : The A2 westbound between the A227 and the junction with the A2260 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 31 May 2018 to 06:00 on 1 June 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of four lanes closed.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 12:30 pm
Location : The M20 westbound between junctions J4 and J2 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1, 2 and 3 will be closed. Reason : Road repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 23:00 on 25 May 2018 to 05:00 on 26 May 2018. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 12:30 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 29 May 2018 to 06:00 on 30 May 2018. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 30 May 2018 to 2 June 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of four lanes closed.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 12:30 pm
Location : The M20 westbound between junctions J3 and J1 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed. Reason : Road repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 22:00 on 30 May 2018 to 05:30 on 31 May 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be two of three lanes closed.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 12:30 pm
Location : The M26 westbound between junctions J3 and J2A . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed. Reason : Road repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 23:00 on 25 May 2018 to 05:00 on 26 May 2018. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: May 25, 2018, 12:30 pm

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