Good news for motorists as three miles of roadworks removed
Published: 14 May 2012
Work on the M1 Junctions 10 to 13 managed motorway scheme continues
There is good news for M1 road users, as the Highways Agency will be removing three miles of roadworks, including the temporary 50mph speed limit, between junction 10 (Luton-south) and junction 11 (Luton/Dunstable) in Bedfordshire overnight tonight, Monday 14 May, and beginning the use of variable speed limits on this section of the motorway.
From early tomorrow morning the Highways Agency will be able to use the newly installed overhead message signs on the gantries and variable speed limits (displayed in a red ring) to control incidents – improving traffic flow and safety for road users. When variable speed limits are not displayed, traffic using this section of the M1 will be able to run at the national speed limit.
The hard shoulder is not yet available for use as a traffic lane, so it remains only available for drivers to use if they need to stop in an emergency. Drivers will also be able to use the newly built emergency refuge areas (large lay-bys) which have orange roadside telephones installed in them.
Drivers are advised that work to deliver the managed motorway on the M1 between junctions 10 and 13 continues.
Andy Hitch, Highways Agency senior project manager for the M1 J10 to J13 managed motorway scheme, said:
“We know road users will welcome this, as the M1 is a very busy stretch of motorway, but it’s important that people note that this section is not yet a fully operational section of managed motorway, so the hard shoulder is not available as a traffic lane.
"Drivers on the M1 in Bedfordshire will see that work is continuing between junctions 11 (Dunstable) and 13 (A421/Bedford), but we’ve almost completed the southern section between junctions 10 to 11, meaning we are able to remove all traffic management including the temporary 50mph speed limit.
“However, our East Regional Control Centre will be able to monitor traffic conditions using CCTV cameras, and use the new system to set the signs and variable speed limits on the overhead gantries between junctions 10 and 11 to control traffic flow should there be an incident.”
The Highways Agency is aiming to introduce a fully operational section of managed motorway on the M1 between junctions 10 and 11 by this summer – so before the London 2012 Games – but that is subject to successful testing and commissioning of the technology and operational systems. Once fully operational, it will mean that during busy times, the variable mandatory speed limits will be automatically set, and road users will be advised via overhead signing that they can use the hard shoulder as a traffic lane – making their journey times more reliable, reducing congestion and improving safety.
Andy Hitch continued: “We would like to thank road users for their patience during our work to deliver these important improvements. Once fully completed they will make journeys better for the thousands of people who use the M1 every day and businesses who depend on moving goods from A to B.”
As well as completing the southern section, work on the rest of the project continues. These activities include:
- installation of gantries, signs and signals between junctions 12 (Toddington) and 13 (Bedford, A421) and continued construction between junctions 11 and 12;
- local improvements to the A505 and slip roads to improve junction 11;
- construction of the new junction 12, with three of the four new slip roads open to traffic and the new A5120 bridge and the last remaining slip road due to be opened to traffic next week;
- demolition of the old A5120 bridge at junction 12 once the new bridge is open to traffic. This is expected to be done during the last weekend in June.
The Highways Agency will keep road users updated on the delivery of the managed motorway scheme, especially ahead of any sections becoming fully operational.
The M1 junction 10 to 13 managed motorway scheme length is 15 miles, and drivers are reminded that work continues on the rest of the project so they should take extra care through the roadworks and observe the 50mph speed limit which is there for their safety and that of the workforce. Work on the managed motorway element of the M1 scheme Bedfordshire started in December 2009, with work to improve capacity at junctions 11 and 12 starting in February 2011. The scheme is due to be fully completed by spring 2013 and the project has an estimated cost range of £412m and £504m.
For further information about the scheme, visit http://www.highways.gov.uk/roads/projects/4482.aspx or call our Information Line on 0300 123 5000.
Notes to Editors
Issued on behalf of the Highways Agency by Regional News Network East, tel 01223 370785. Media enquiries out of hours should be made to the Highways Agency National Press Office (24hrs) on 0207 081 7443.
1. The Highways Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Transport. We manage, maintain and improve England’s motorways and trunk roads on behalf of the Secretary of State.
2. Maintenance and improvement projects: We plan maintenance and improvement projects carefully to allow road works to be completed safely, in a cost effective way while keeping disruption to road users to a minimum. We do as much work as possible overnight and when roads are less busy in order to keep more lanes open for road users at peak travel times. Drivers are advised to check their route for road works and allow extra time for their journeys where needed. We have a variety of journey planning tools that road users can use to check travel conditions on the roads we manage, and we will do all we can to keep road users informed.
3. The Highways Agency is working with the industry and road users to reduce the risks of working on the roads. For the safety of road workers and all road users, when you are approaching roadworks:
- Keep within the speed limit – it is there for your safety.
- Get into the correct lane in good time – don’t keep switching.
- Concentrate on the road ahead, not the roadworks.
- Be alert for works’ traffic leaving or entering roadworks.
- Keep a safe distance – there could be queues in front.
- Observe all signs – they are there to help you.
4. Real-time traffic information for England’s motorways and other strategic roads is available:
- From the web at www.highways.gov.uk/traffic or www.highways.gov.uk/mobile if using a phone or mobile device.
- By phone from the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000 at any time. (Calls to 0300 numbers will cost no more than 5p per minute from a standard BT residential landline. Call charges from other landlines and mobile networks may vary, but will be no more than a standard geographic call and will be included in all inclusive minutes and discount schemes).
- Before using any mobile, find a safe place to park. Never stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency. Make sure it’s safe and legal before you call.
- From Twitter on one of eight separate feeds with live traffic information for each region. For information on roads in the East of England region follow us @hatraffic_east or for the full index visit www.highways.gov.uk/twitter.
5. Receive our national and regional press releases by RSS and get the latest headlines straight to your desktop the moment we publish them to our website. Choose to receive a national press feed or one of our regionalised feeds - go to www.highways.gov.uk/rssnews for more information.
Issued on behalf of the Highways Agency by Regional News Network East, tel 01223 370785.