Highways England has confirmed construction work on the M20 in Kent will commence in February.
Costing £104 million, the work will unlock jobs and economic investment on this important link to the south coast.
The project will see the construction of junction 10a of the M20, close to Ashford, improving journey times along the way.
The area will benefit from a huge amount of investment this year, with the M20 just one of four major improvement projects that will start in the first half of 2018.
Altogether, the four road developments – resulting in faster journeys and improved links – are worth £550 million.
As well as the construction of junction 10a of the M20, Highways England will be undertaking three smart motorway upgrades in Kent, the M23 near Gatwick and the Solent.
Once completed, they will help to ease the congestion in the area because the construction will create 65 miles of new lanes, which will increase capacity by a third.
New technology meanwhile, will keep drivers up to date with any developments when they are on the road.
The commitment to introducing smart motorways in the south east follows on from those already in place in Yorkshire and recent months have seen the north west benefit from new and improved motorway lanes.
And Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England Chief Executive, said the south east upgrades are proof of the nationwide improvements being made on the road network.
He said: “These upgrades in the south east will improve millions of journeys. Each of these milestones in the region is evidence of Highways England delivering major infrastructure upgrades for the whole country.”
Along with the new junction along the M20, and the three smart motorway projects, four additional upgrades in the region are expected to hit important milestones; these include consultations on improvements to the M25 interchange with the A3 close to Surrey.