Highways England has opened a new 20-mile section of smart motorway in the East Midlands, completing a £205m upgrade.
The hard shoulder has been permanently converted to an extra running lane between junction 28 (Mansfield) and junction 31 (Worksop), and variable speed limits will also be used to keep vehicles moving,
Highways England said the scheme is the first smart motorway in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire and tackles ‘the stop-start conditions many drivers have experienced in the past’.
Transport minister Andrew Jones said: ‘The completion of the smart motorway on this section of the M1 will make a real difference to people travelling between Mansfield, Chesterfield and Worksop, delivering better and smoother journeys, helping businesses and boosting the local economy.’
Highways England said the new stretch of smart motorway will improve journeys for more than 95,000 drivers a day. It said a similar scheme on the M25, that opened just over a year ago, ‘has seen the busiest journey times being halved and the number of collisions reduced by a fifth’.
Its contractors worked 1.75 million combined hours to complete the scheme. Staff in its regional control centres will use CCTV round the clock to respond quickly to incidents.
The new stretch of smart motorway includes 40 miles of extra lanes, 140 electronic signs, 94 CCTV cameras with infrared capability, 20 emergency refuge areas and 17 overhead gantries.