This is when chaos of M1 ‘smart motorway’ and logistics park roadworks will end
Major roadworks on the M1 and near to East Midlands Airport are set to be finished by Christmas.
Highways England is converting the stretch between junctions 23A, for the airport, and 25, for the A52, into a “smart motorway”, comprising extra lanes.
And the creation of a £700m logistics park – called East Midlands Gateway – on farmland off junction 24 has resulted in a further rash of traffic cones.
Both road infrastructure projects are due to be finished by the end of 2018.
Peter Goddard, infrastructure project manager at East Midlands Gateway, said: “The work is on track to be finished before the end of this year. All things being equal, the roadworks in this area will be gone by Christmas.”
Work on SEGRO and Roxhill’s 700-acre East Midlands Gateway scheme – which could create over 11,000 jobs in total – began in January 2017.
Amazon and Nestlé, through third-party logistics operator XPO Logistics, have been lined up as tenants.
SEGRO is funding £100m of infrastructure at the interchange, including a 50-acre rail terminal and extensive road improvements that are designed to give the best possible connectivity to the 10 plots now available to occupiers.
Road changes in the J24 area include:
* A new slip road directly connecting the A50 to the M1 southbound at J24a;
* A new road connecting J23a of the M1 northbound to the A50 towards Derby, bypassing the J24 roundabout;
* Construction of a new A6 Kegworth Bypass.
Mr Goddard said the new roads will result in less traffic on the J24 roundabout – even after the logistics park has been built.
“The improvements we’re providing are greater than the traffic the development creates,” he said.
“There will be a net improvement to the highway network.”
The roadworks have caused misery for drivers. However, Mr Goddard said the pain will be worth it.
He said: “A substantial amount of traffic comes from the A50 and onto the M1 southbound.
“At the moment, you come down the A50 and then there’s a horrible little roundabout. You then follow a road that’s parallel with the M1 and onto the junction 24 roundabout, where there’s lots of traffic.
“When our scheme is done, that will not happen. Instead, you will go over the top of the M1 and you’ll then be able to choose whether to directly join the M1 at J24a, or follow another road onto J24, where there are routes to other places such as the airport.
“That work alone significantly reduces the amount of traffic that’s currently having to go through the J24 roundabout.
“In addition, at the moment, motorists have to use the J24 roundabout to get from the M1 northbound carriageway onto the A50 towards Derby.
“Again, that is going to change. There will be a free-flow lane that will enable traffic to come off at J23a and bypass the J24 roundabout, through to the A50.
“These two major road amendments will significantly reduce the amount of traffic that’s going around the J24 roundabout.
“We’re also doing some improvements to J24 itself and we’re putting in a bypass to help alleviate problems in Kegworth.
Meanwhile, the 50-acre rail terminal – which will be built on the East Midlands Gateway site – is on track to be completed by the middle of next year.
Mr Goddard said: The terminal will be capable of accommodating 775-metre long trains. They are the longest trains the UK rail network can accommodate. They’re extremely rare at the moment. There are only a few running around at the moment.
“Not only will the terminal connect to the units within the logistics park, it will also operate as a rail freight terminal for companies outside the development.
“So, a manufacturing plant in Loughborough, for example, could bring its goods here via a lorry and then have them transferred onto a train.
“Likewise, goods can come into here and be picked up by a lorry and taken elsewhere.”