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M25 will become England's 'smartest' motorway
The Highways Agency (HA), says final preparations are taking place for the M25 to become England’s first entirely ‘Smart Motorway’, improving journeys and boosting the economy. Two sections of the motorway opening this month and next, will, for the first time on a motorway scheme in England, have the hard shoulder converted for use as a permanent traffic lane for drivers and have enhanced technology to manage traffic flow to improve the reliability of journey times. The two new sections are between junctions 23 and 25 in Hertfordshire and between junctions 5 and 6/7 on the Kent/Surrey border. The improvements, which are spanning some 32km (20 miles) of the M25 London Orbital Motorway, are part of a new generation of technology-driven improvements on the strategic road network that were formerly known as ‘Managed Motorways’. The advance on the M25, which will be repeated on other motorways, is the permanent conversion of the hard shoulder for traffic, providing 24/7 extra capacity.
On the Hertfordshire section, work to remove the existing traffic management, which has been in place during construction, is taking place overnight and will be completed by April 14, when the new look section of motorway will be fully open. On the southern section, the traffic management is due to be removed at the end of this month, with the section fully open in May. John Martin, the HA’s senior project manager, said, “Around £1.7bn (US$2.8bn) is being invested into roads in the South East by 2021, with 145 new lane miles (233km) of capacity added. Most of the work to improve journeys on these stretches in Hertfordshire and Kent/Surrey is complete and we are now testing the new technology. We are delighted to be able to open the first part of the northern section ahead of the planned full completion in December 2014. The southern section is completing significantly earlier than planned due to rescheduling of the program. Soon the smart motorway will be complete and we are now asking drivers to get smart and find out more about how to use it, the types of signs and signals they will see and what to do in the event of a breakdown. This really is the start of a new age on England’s motorways.”
11 April 2014