Work on the M1 smart motorway scheme has started ahead of schedule.
The scheme is set to reduce congestion and increase capacity on the M1 near Wakefield.
Work started yesterday (Monday 11 November), and will see extra capacity added to six miles of the M1 between junction 39 (Durkar) and junction 42 (Lofthouse) by converting the hard shoulder to a permanent traffic lane. Variable mandatory speed limits, displayed on overhead and verge-mounted signs, will help smooth the flow of traffic and reduce congestion.
Roads Minister Robert Goodwill said: “More than 113,000 vehicles use this section of the M1 every day, which means congestion is a serious problem and likely to increase significantly unless action is taken now. That is why this Government has invested £120 million to help improve access and traffic flow on this vital economic route, with road users and businesses set to benefit sooner with work starting earlier than planned.”
The work is starting earlier than the previously announced date of 2014/15, and is due to be completed in September 2015. The £105m construction contract for the scheme (which has an estimated overall cost of £120m) has been awarded to the BAM Nuttall/Morgan Sindall joint venture (bmJV). They previously delivered the smart motorway improvements on the M62 between junction 25 (Brighouse) and junction 30 (Rothwell). The experience gained from this scheme has been used to streamline the M1 construction timetable.
Gary Crisp, contracts director for bmJV, said: “We are delighted that our previous experience gained on a range of highways schemes, including the M62, has ensured we are best placed to provide the travelling public with this improved road network earlier than originally scheduled.
“We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the Highways Agency to realise this vital scheme to reduce congestion and improve journey times, without reducing safety.”