A stretch of the M1 motorway in Northamptonshire is set to be upgraded to a smart motorway.
The scheme, which costs £373 million, will succeed in cutting congestion and help to unlock the construction of tens of thousands of homes in the region.
The section of the M1 which will be upgraded to a smart motorway is almost 23 miles long and is between junctions 13 and 16, passing through Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire.
It is a particularly important strand of the motorway network, given that it not only provides connections to towns such as Northampton, Milton Keynes and Bedford, but it is a key gateway route for those travelling both north and south.
The smart motorway network, which is improving travel across the country thanks to innovative new technology, will provide much needed upgrades to the M1 in Northamptonshire.
As it currently stands, daily traffic is at 116,000 vehicles on each section; on Friday, this increases to 140,000, with heavy goods vehicles making up approximately one fifth of the traffic flow.
This indicates how imperative it is for businesses to use the roads to get up and down the country with minimal delays.
A smart motorway will help to achieve this; with junctions 13 to 16 set to be increased to four lanes running without a hard shoulder, therefore increasing capacity.
Elsewhere, the central reserve will be hardened, and a rigid concrete barrier installed between junctions 13 to 15, in order to prevent vehicle cross-overs from opposite sides of the carriageway.
New superspan gantries will support variable mandatory speed limits, giving drivers up to date real time information.
The project is due to start in August, and Highways England project sponsor, Tabatha Bailey, believes this work is “vital” for businesses.
“This is vital work to improve journeys through a busy stretch of the M1 and once complete, will boost the local economy by increasing capacity and supporting future housing development.”