First phase of Wakefield smart motorway to go live

25/11/2015
Highways Reporters

Drivers will be able to use an extra lane on a section of the M1 near Wakefield ahead of a new smart motorway going live next month.

A 50mph speed limit will remain in place whilst contractors for Highways England test the technology before the first phase of the system goes live on a 7.5 mile stretch between junction 39 (Denby Dale) and junction 41 (Morley) on Saturday 12 December.

An extra lane will also open on the northbound carriageway between junction 41 and junction 42 (Lofthouse).

As part of the project, the latest technology is being installed to monitor traffic levels, provide traffic information to road users, and ease congestion by using variable speed limits on overhead message signs.

Contractors for Highways England have installed 6,172 road studs, put in nearly seven miles of reinforced concrete barriers in the central reservation and resurfaced the same length on both carriageways. And they have also put in 10 gantries with 38 electronic signs as part of the full scheme.

Highways England project manager Tsuwun Bevan said: “Smart motorways are already proving successful in other parts of the country and we have now reached a stage where we can open this section of the M1 between junctions 39 and 41. By opening this extra lane it will help to reduce congestion during peak times for drivers by providing four lanes to ease the flow of traffic.”

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