M1 upgrade phased opening continues
Motorists using the M1 in Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire can now benefit from more reliable journeys with further sections of the motorway fully opening, and the 70mph national speed limit restored.
National Highways is upgrading the M1 between junction 13, at Bedford and South Milton Keynes, and junction 16, for Daventry, creating an extra lane in each direction and adding technology to improve journeys and give drivers better information.
The 23-mile upgrade is opening in three main sections, with the first section having opened earlier this year.
On Monday 5 December a 4.2-mile section north of junction 14 at Newport Pagnell services opened. A further 4.5-mile section – to junction 15 for Northampton – is set to open in early 2023. Together these make up the second section of the M1 upgrade.
The third and final section of the upgrade, between junctions 15 and 16, began its phased opening last month, with four lanes in each direction at 60mph, and is expected to fully open by March 2023.
On motorways where the hard shoulder has been converted to a traffic lane, there is a whole system of inter-related features, working together to help keep traffic moving safely. They include:
- Variable speed limits to help keep traffic moving, reducing frustrating stop-start traffic and making journeys quicker
- Clearly signed and orange-coloured emergency areas set back from the road and with telephones linking directly to our control rooms.
- Detection systems to monitor traffic for changes in flows and speeds, including stopped vehicle detection to spot stopped vehicles and get help on the way more quickly.
- CCTV cameras that our operators are able to move and zoom to monitor and manage congestion and incidents, where notified. The system has the ability to see 100% of the carriageway.
- Signs and signals to provide better information and that can alert drivers to hazards ahead and display Red X signals to close lanes to other traffic when a stopped vehicle is identified.
- Enforcement cameras to deter the minority who break speed limits and ignore Red X signs
All this is overseen and joined up by dedicated National Highways teams, both in control rooms and on the road, who are here to help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
National Highways launched a new ‘Driving on motorways’ hub earlier this year – it provides information about the main features of smart motorways, and advice and guidance on safer driving and what to do in an emergency:
More details on the upgrade are available here