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 route of the proposed Smart Motorway

The route of the proposed Smart Motorway

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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Overview leaflet

 

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