Managed motorway for M4 moves a step forward … but may not be delivered before 2021
The Highways Agency has published further information on its proposal to turn a 32 mile stretch of the M4 into a ‘Smart Motorway’, but construction would not start before 2016 at the earliest.
The scheme would see the removal of the hard shoulder on a stretch of the motorway from Junction 3 to Junction 12. A variable speed limit would be imposed, with new CCTV coverage and emergency refuge areas.
The cost of a ‘Smart Motorway’ is far lower than traditional motorway widening and also has a lower environmental impact. Saftey, the Highways Agency says, is not compromised and could even be improved.
The scheme is considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project which means a Development Consent Order is required from the Planning Inspectorate.
No money is currently available but in order to maintain a “pipeline” of highway infrastructure works in progress, planning is going ahead now on the basis of funding being approved in the next funding round after 2015. The cost could be up to £862 million and construction, at this point, could be anywhere between 2016 and 2021.
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