Major Motorway Scheme Begins

4 March 2010

Major construction work on a vital Costain joint venture scheme to reduce congestion and improve safety on the M1 in Bedfordshire was officially started this week by Transport Minister, Chris Mole. 

When the Managed Motorways scheme is complete in spring 2013, motorists travelling on a 15-mile stretch of one of England's busiest motorways will be able to use the hard shoulder as a traffic lane during busy periods - increasing capacity and improving journey times.

The Transport Minister today witnessed the official start of major construction of the scheme between junctions 10 (Luton) and 13 (Milton Keynes). Preparatory work started in August 2009 - six months earlier than planned thanks to £16.6m of Government fiscal stimulus funding.

Chris Mole said:

"The M1 in Bedfordshire is the first stretch of motorway outside the West Midlands where we are introducing a Managed Motorways scheme. This means the hard shoulder can be opened as a running lane at busy times to ease congestion.

"The M1 is a key artery which impacts upon both national and local economies, moving goods and people around the country, and supporting investment. I am delighted that the proven benefits of hard shoulder running are being brought to road users on this vital national transport spine. This crucial scheme will make an invaluable contribution to business and economy by increasing capacity, improving journey time reliability and safety.

"This is part of the Government's commitment to delivering innovative solutions to tackle congestion. Two Managed Motorways schemes are already successfully operating on sections of the M6 and the M42 in the West Midlands. Results from the M42 pilot demonstrate more reliable journey times for drivers and a reduction in the number of accidents - and now users of the M1 in Bedfordshire can look forward to these benefits."