Tuesday, July 8, 2014

News: Speed limit to remain 70mph on M1


The national speed limit on the M1 through Rotherham will remain at 70mph after the Transport Secretary put the brakes on the Highways Agency's plans to implement a maximum mandatory 60mph speed limit between junctions 28 to 35a of the motorway.

£300m transport schemes to reduce congestion and increase capacity on the M1 motorway through Rotherham are scheduled to start this year. They include plans for converting the hard shoulder to an extra traffic lane in both directions and variable mandatory speed limits.

The Highways Agency has said that environmental assessments carried out on these proposed managed motorway schemes showed there was likely to be an adverse impact on local air quality if the motorway continued to operate at the national speed limit (70mph).

Consultation has been ongoing on proposals for a maximum mandatory speed limit of 60mph between junction 28 at Mansfield and junction 35a at Sheffield and Rotherham between 7am and 7pm, seven days a week, as part of improvements planned for the M1. The speed limit would have been used to manage traffic speeds and help reduce congestion and air pollutants locally.

Now, Patrick McLoughlin MP, the Transport Secretary, has rejected this approach as the government's preferred option for managing the problem and has instead asked the Highways Agency to rigorously investigate alternatives as work progresses on the schemes in the next 12 to 18 months.

Patrick McLoughlin said: "Let me be absolutely clear, I want all motorways to run at 70mph. While it sometimes makes sense to use variable limits to keep people moving, blanket reductions are not acceptable.

"Smart motorways are an effective and cost efficient way of increasing space on our roads, cutting jams and speeding up journey times and I am pleased to announce the start of work on these schemes."

Rotherham Council raised concerns over the proposals, believing that imposing the 60mph limit would restrict economic growth in Rotherham and the Sheffield city region.

Construction will now start on the schemes between M1 junctions 28 to 31 and M1 junctions 32 to 35a. 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 £124m and £174m. A similar scheme costing between £163m and £221m is planned for the M1 between junction 28 (South Normanton) and 31 (Aston).

The stretch of motorway between J32 and 35a carries more than 110,000 vehicles each day and 95,000 vehicles per day travel between J28 and J31. Both stretches suffer from congestion and delay at peak times.

Highways Agency website

Images: Highways Agency


Anonymous,  July 8, 2014 at 1:32 PM  

Absolutely great. After years of roadworks on the same stretch of motorway holding up traffic coming to an end; it is all going to start again - planning? You must be having a laugh.

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