Drivers using the M1 in Northamptonshire are facing more than a year of delays as new roadworks are set to begin next week, along with the return of the 50mph speed limit.
Motorists have been given a brief respite from the last batch of roadworks late last year, but the Highways England has today announced that new work to create a ‘smart motorway’ will begin next week.
The work will be carried out between junction 16 in Northamptonshire and junction 19 in Leicestershire. The agency estimates the work will be complete by spring 2017.
Overnight closures will be in place between junctions 16 and 17 northbound and southbound.
A spokesman for Highways England said: “The overnight work will include installing temporary traffic management in the form of 3 narrow running lanes between junctions 16 and 17. This will involve the removal of the existing road markings and the installation of temporary road markings. Additionally, temporary signs will be put up and temporary steel traffic barriers will be installed along the hard shoulder.
“A reduced temporary speed limit of 50mph will also be implemented and enforced by average speed cameras for the safety of drivers and our roadworkers.
“The working hours will be during the daytime and evening from Monday to Saturday.
“Drivers are asked to follow the signed diversion routes during these closures. Please do not use satellite navigation (sat nav) when following the diversion.
“We advise local residents and business owners to ensure they allow extra time to complete their journeys,” he added.
The agency says the latest scheme “will see vital extra capacity created by the permanent conversion of the hard shoulder to a traffic lane”.
The previous roadworks began in 2014 and in January last year, the Chron campaigned for urgent safety talks after a spate of accidents which many drivers believed was because of the narrow lanes set up through the roadworks.
Highways England project manager, Lee Wise, said: “This is an exciting scheme and once completed will bring big improvements with an additional lane for traffic. This will help hugely during times of congestion. We are committed to delivering this work differently with shorter lengths of traffic management wherever possible to help minimise disruption to drivers.
“I would, however, urge road users to please have patience and bear with us while we carry this work out as quickly as we can and to be extra vigilant and to take extra care when driving through the road works. The scheme, when completed, will be worth it and bring daily benefits to journeys for years to come,” he added.
Highways England advises motorists to check Traffic England (www.trafficengland.co.uk) for current traffic conditions or visit http://www.highways.gov.uk/roads/road-projects/m1-junctions-19-to-16-all-lane-running/ for details about the scheme.
On the following dates there will be a full closure of the M1 junction 16 to 18 northbound this is due to the nature of the road layout.
Tuesday 2 February (10pm -6am)
Wednesday 10 February (10pm – 6am)
Friday 12 February (10pm – 6am)
Tuesday 16 February (10pm – 6am)
On the following dates there will be a full closure of the M1 junction 18 to 16 southbound:
Tuesday 9 February (10pm – 6am)
Thursday 11 February (10pm – 6am)
Monday 15 February (10pm – 6am)