We are currently working on the smart motorway scheme design options for this part of the M1 that would meet the aims of the scheme, while undertaking a range of surveys and assessments to help inform us about the local environment.
We are assessing a wide range of information about the motorway to establish the nature of the current constraints. We have also started discussions with local authorities and technical stakeholders so we can take into account their views for our scheme proposal.
We plan to hold a series of public information events in September to provide information about the scheme and detailed design and construction phase.
We will progress with the detailed design phase of the scheme leading into construction which is scheduled to commence in March 2018.
|Government announces scheme||December 2014|
|Public information events||September 2017|
|Complete the design phase||December 2017|
|Works start||March 2018|
|Works complete||June 2021|
Why we need this scheme
The M1 is a key strategic route carrying high volumes of heavy goods and other vehicles between London and the North.
Drivers currently experience congestion and unreliable journey times at busy periods, while traffic is predicted to grow. The section between junctions 13 and 16 is 37.9km (23.6 miles) in length, passing through Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire and providing connections to the towns of Bedford, Milton Keynes and Northampton.
The aim of this scheme is to:
- reduce congestion and smooth the flow of traffic to improve travel times to make journeys more reliable
- support the economy and facilitate economic growth within the region by providing much needed capacity on the motorway reducing the cost of economic delay to commuters and business traffic
- maximise motorway capacity while maintaining safety on motorways
- minimise environmental impacts
The scheme in detail
The scheme will involve:
- hardening of the central reserve and installation of a Rigid Concrete Barrier (RCB) between J13-15
- a RCB between J15 and J16 has already been delivered as part of the J16-19 Smart Motorway scheme
- upgrade of Junctions 13 to 16 to four lanes running with no hard shoulder
- 38 new Emergency Refuge Areas (ERAs). Emergency Roadside Telephones will be installed at ERAs
- all lanes to be resurfaced
- new and replacement Vehicle Restraint System in the verges
- provision of new cantilever and superspan gantries to support Variable Mandatory Speed Limits and driver information using a combination of Motorway Signals and Advanced Motorway Indicators
- new and replacement structures
- installation of low light/infrared CCTV cameras
- underbridge and culvert extension to accommodate the proposed alignment
- installation of new noise barriers and replacement of specific lengths of existing noise barrier where required
- landscape planting to mitigate new earthworks and gantry installation
An environmental screening exercise at an early stage of the project indicated that it was considered unlikely there would be significant adverse effects resulting from the M1 junctions 13 to 16 smart motorway scheme. The key issues considered include:
- air quality mitigation, in relation to housing and air quality management areas
- surveys for protected species and habitats including bats, badgers dormouse and great crested newts.
- to minimise the loss of vegetative screening along the scheme and to design mitigation to reinforce screening for the future.
Some sections of the existing noise barrier will be replaced with new sections of environmental barrier as they have reached the end of life. Additional noise barriers will also be delivered as part of the scheme design at a number of Noise Important Areas.
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