M1 commuters in Northampton can expect roadwork misery to continue for even longer after Highways England announced plans to turn the Northamptonshire stretch into a ‘Smart Motorway’.
The 23-mile length of road between junction 14 for Newport Pagnell, which runs through Northamptonshire to the Catthorpe Interchange at junction 19, is currently subject to a 50mph speed limit while the central barrier is replaced.
The upgrade will add more capacity to the motorway and traffic management systems, including variable speed limits, which will help tackle congestion and make journey times more reliableHighways England spokesperson.
But this week Highways England has confirmed once the barrier work has been done, it will begin work on making the stretch into a Smart Motorway, which it says will increase capacity in the northbound and southbound directions.
A Highways England spokesperson said: “The M1 between junction 19 to 15 will see a Smart Motorway constructed with work starting later in the year.
“The upgrade will add more capacity to the motorway and traffic management systems, including variable speed limits, which will help tackle congestion and make journey times more reliable.”
The ongoing work to replace the central reservation barrier with a concrete one between junctions 19 and 15 should be completed by late September.
The spokesperson continued: “Speed restrictions are in place and we ask drivers to drive safely through the roadworks.”
“Once this work is completed the next phase will include the preparatory work leading to the construction of the major improvement scheme.”
However the spokesperson could not say how long the Smart Motorway scheme would take to implement.
However the scheme to install the Smart Motorway from junctions 28 to 31 in the north of England, which is currently underway, began in August 2014 and is not expect to finish until early 2016.
That particular scheme is expected to cost between £168 million and £225 million.