In December 2017 we completed the smart motorway scheme design phase for this section of the M1 which meet the aims of the scheme. We also undertook a range of surveys and assessments to help inform us about the local environment.
We held a series of public information events in September and October 2017 to provide information about the detailed design and construction phase of the scheme.
Advance works for the scheme start on 22 January 2018. These advance works include some vegetation and tree clearance work between junction 13, near Brogborough, and Tathall End, to the north of junction 14, in various locations over a 3 month period until the end of March 2018.
Advance works are integral to preparing the motorway for the construction phase of the scheme. The vegetation and tree clearance is being undertaken so that the main construction and structures needed to upgrade the motorway can be accommodated. Wherever possible, existing vegetation will be protected and retained but where tree removal is unavoidable, a comprehensive replanting scheme will be implemented in order to mitigate visual impacts.
Appropriate controls have been put in place for the sustainable management of vegetation clearance. This includes chipping of any vegetation we need to remove, which will be part re-used on site to encourage natural wildlife habitation. The remainder will be removed from site for other uses. This will ensure there will be no waste arising from the vegetation and tree clearance work.
Highways England and our contractors are aware of the sensitive nature of the work as it is likely to be noisy. We have therefore developed detailed plans for construction and traffic management to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum wherever possible. This vegetation and tree clearance work will be undertaken during daytime hours with night time working used as a last resort where absolutely necessary. Where it is necessary, we will aim to carry out noisy operations before midnight.
To ensure safety during the advance works, lengths of the hard shoulder will be closed during the daytime on each side of the carriageway with occasional lane closures on the motorway between 22:00 and 06:00 at night.
|Government announces scheme||December 2014|
|Public information events||September 2017|
|Complete the design phase||December 2017|
|Works start||May 2018|
|Works complete||March 2022|
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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