Thinking of using the M1 between Milton Keynes and Northampton this weekend? You need to read this first ...

The M1 will be closed northbound at junction 14 all weekend from Friday night (November 19)The M1 will be closed northbound at junction 14 all weekend from Friday night (November 19)
The M1 will be closed northbound at junction 14 all weekend from Friday night (November 19)
Motorway will be closed northbound for 56 hours from Friday night

Motorway traffic between Milton Keynes and Northampton will make the A5 and A508 extra busy while the M1 is shut all this weekend.

Engineers had to cut short the full closure northbound between junction 14 and junction 15 last month — but not before a smash further south on the motorway led to major queues.

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National Highways needs to carry out work around two bridges as part of the £373million smart motorway upgrade due to open late next year or early 2023.

But snags with equipment making the specialist surfacing material meant the closure was called off just a few hours into Saturday morning.

Now engineers will be back for another go, meaning the road will be coned off for 56 hours from 10pm on Friday (November 19) to 6am the following Monday.

A National Highways spokesman said: "The closure will allow engineers to lower the motorway surface at Tongwell Lane Farm bridge and adjusting the gradients on the carriageway at Little Linford Lane bridge.

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"This work is necessary because the bridge is currently too low for traffic such as lorries once this section of the M1 becomes a four-lane motorway.

"As you can imagine, this is a significant piece of work and we have to close the road fully to do it safely. If we are able to complete the work quicker than expected, we will re-open the road and will advise motorists and the public through social media and the electronic signs on the motorway itself.

"During the closure, drivers will be encouraged to plan ahead and to use alternative routes such as the M40, A1 or the M11 with the A14.

"We will also ask motorists to avoid this section of the M1 and surrounding roads if possible. Diversion routes will be clearly signed for the duration of this road closure so please follow these routes and not Satnavs to avoid them choosing unsuitable routes."

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Work to convert a 23-mile section of motorway into into a smart motorway, using four lanes of traffic with no hard shoulder, began in 2018.

But the scheme has attracted plenty of criticism following a number of deaths and serious injuries and a committee of MPs recently called for a halt to opening smart motorways until at least 2025 to gather data.