Breakdowns, noise and months of roadworks among smart M4 concerns
What to do if you breakdown and what’s being done to reduce noise were among the questions asked at a public exhibition on plans to make the M4 a smart motorway.
A total of 1,147 people attended Highways England’s exhibitions in Reading, Berkshire, Wokingham and Maidenhead.
Work is due to start in the autumn to create a smart motorway from junctions 3 Hayes to junction 12 for Theale.
This will involve turning the hard shoulder into a permanent fourth lane, the introduction of variable speed limits and employing fast reacting road signs to inform motorists of developments.
A Highways England spokesman said: “At the exhibitions, motorists have been asking general questions on how smart motorways work, what to do if they breakdown and how many emergency areas (EAs) there are on the scheme.
“There were also more specific questions. For example, one person asked about how much vegetation clearance was needed for the scheme near a outside their property, and others asked what we are doing about noise from the M4.
“Bridges were also an important issue [11 bridges over the motorway will be replaced during the project]. We were asked how the new bridges will be built and what closures will be needed when the bridges are being built.
“We were asked when the works will start and finish – a hot topic given how ambitious the project is.
“Finally, were were asked how long speed cameras would be in place: whether they would only be there for the roadworks, or whether they become permanent fixtures.”
Work will start in September 2018 between junctions 10 for Wokingham and Bracknell and 8/9 for Maidenhead.
The whole project is expected to be finished in spring 2022.
What’s the reaction been like?
The spokesman said: “People have been positive about the plans and have appreciated us coming out to the public information exhibits to tell them about what’s happening.
“They are very interested in what is happening and how the scheme will affect them.
“The exhibitions were an ideal place for anyone interested in the M4 junction 3 to 12 smart motorway to meet the project team and find out more about the scheme.”
He added: “Now the exhibition is done, our employees will be getting started on some
“This includes putting out the traffic management ready for the roadworks proper, setting up the average speed cameras, installing CCTV along the section of roadworks and getting the recovery operator’s in place.
“All this will start between junctions 8/9 and 10 at the end of July, with the all lane running sections (sections with no hard shoulder) and central reservation work to follow shortly thereafter.”