With the design phase of the project completed, Highways England have announced that construction on the planned A1(M) ‘Smart Motorway’ upgrade will begin in March 2020.
Traffic flows between J6-8 have long exceeded intended capacity, and with 13,000 new homes planned for the area is only set to increase. Conversion of the hard shoulder on this 14km stretch into an ‘all running lane’ will provide 50% additional capacity and result in the motorway having 3 full lanes from J3 (Hatfield) through to J9 (Baldock/Letchworth).
Grant Shapps said “I have been campaigning for this upgrade for several years now and am glad to see that we’re finally close to construction getting underway. With the current and planned traffic increases, this upgrade really can’t come soon enough.”
In addition to the hard shoulder being converted, the upgrade will also see the existing two lanes resurfaced with quiet tarmac and sound barriers added at key locations to further minimise the noise impact. The new generation of Smart Motorways have also been redesigned, with the distance between Emergency Refuge Areas reduced from 1.5 to every 1 mile to further improve safety.
Grant added “As both the local MP and Transport Secretary I will be keeping a close eye on this project, and continuously liaising with Highways England to ensure it’s delivered on time and on budget.”