Thursday, September 24, 2015

News: M1 smart motorway scheme to open in December

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Restrictions are set to be lifted next week as work continues to create smart motorways through Rotherham.

A ten mile stretch of the M1 between junctions 32 (south of Sheffield and Rotherham) and 35a (north of Sheffield and Rotherham) is set to benefit from a project costing between £100.2m and £142.1m. A similar scheme costing between £168m and £225m is being carried out on the M1 between junction 28 (South Normanton) and 31 (Aston).

The projects include plans for converting the hard shoulder to an extra traffic lane in both directions and variable mandatory speed limits and they deliver benefits at a significantly lower cost than conventional motorway widening, and with less impact on the environment during construction. Signs and signals will still be used to inform drivers of conditions on the network and when variable speed limits are in place.

Restrictions will be lifted on Monday September 28 from a section of the motorway just south of Sheffield and Worksop while work goes on behind the scenes to prepare for the opening of the whole junction 28 to 31 smart motorway scheme in December.

Andy Kirk, senior project manager at Highways England, said: "We understand that drivers get frustrated when they drive for miles and can't see a lot of obvious construction work going on, and we recognise that there are a lot of roadworks on the M1 at the moment.

"So rather than keep roadworks in place, we will work behind the scenes completing various technical tasks, until we're ready to implement the smart motorway on this section.

"This also means that we can start work on the next phase of the M1 smart motorway projects."

From Monday restrictions will be lifted between junction 30 and junction 31. In October a further set of roadworks between junction 29a (Duckmanton) and junction 30 are due to be removed. The hard shoulder will remain in place until the smart motorway goes live.

Work will continue on the smart motorway between junction 29a (Duckmanton) and 28 (Mansfield), with narrow lanes and a temporary 50mph speed limit in place, until the whole scheme is complete in December. The smart motorway will then operate between junctions 28 and 31.

Work continues on the 32 - 35 stretch with construction set to end "Winter 2016/17."

Costain, the engineering solutions provider, recently moved from Markham Vale and took on the former Sterecycle site at Templeborough in Rotherham whilst it carries out work on the M1. It secured contracts worth around £125m to carry out work on the two schemes.

Highways England website

Images: Highways England

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