Smart motorway upgrade works to start on A1(M) today

PUBLISHED: 17:12 16 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:23 16 March 2020

Looking South down the A1(M) motorway between junction six and seven. Picture: DANNY LOO

Looking South down the A1(M) motorway between junction six and seven. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Archant

Works to convert parts of the A1(M) into a smart motorway in Hertfordshire start today.

Grant Shapps, the MP for Welwyn Hatfield. Picture: Richard Townshend.Grant Shapps, the MP for Welwyn Hatfield. Picture: Richard Townshend.

A letter was sent out to residents informing them that vegetation clearance works on Junctions 6 and 8, which run through Welwyn, Knebworth and Stevenage, will begin on March 16.

The works will see the introduction of a smart motorway on the existing two-lane section of the A1(M) around Stevenage and WGC to provide a third lane of capacity.

A spokesman for Highways England said: “The Secretary of State only said that no new sections of smart motorway would open to traffic until after the evidence stocktake. However, construction of them would still continue.

“The A1(M) smart motorway is still in the construction phase and this will continue. We stand ready to implement any recommendations that come from the government’s review.”

Looking South down the A1(M) motorway between junction six and seven. Picture: DANNY LOOLooking South down the A1(M) motorway between junction six and seven. Picture: DANNY LOO

This smart motorway will provide 50 per cent additional capacity between Junctions 6 and 8, creating a continuous three-lane motorway between Junction 3 for Hatfield and Junction 9 for Letchworth.

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps released the evidence stocktake on Thursday. He said: “Overall, what the evidence shows is that in most ways, smart motorways are as safe as, or safer than, the conventional ones. But not in every way.

“Therefore, I am launching an extended package of measures – an action plan – to raise the bar on smart motorway safety.”

On its website, Highways England has said the work this month will include detailed design development, strengthening the hard shoulder and structural survey work.

There will also be site clearance, including vegetation on the verge, detailed topography, drainage and road surface surveys.

CCTV cameras, incident detection and automatic sign systems, enforcement cameras, emergency roadside telephones, electronic signals and signage will be installed as part of the work.

Finally, the construction of emergency areas with distinctive advanced signs is also included in the upcoming work, as well as upgrading central reservation by installing rigid concrete barrier, laying low-noise road surface and replanting the verges.

Mr Shapps’ safety measures can be found at www.gov.uk.

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