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Smart motorway section opens on M1

The £205m upgrade lies between junction 28 (Mansfield) and junction 31 (Worksop), where the hard shoulder has been permanently converted to an extra lane. Variable speed limits will also be used to keep vehicles moving.

Roads minister Andrew Jones said: “The completion of the smart motorway on this section of the M1 will make a real difference to people travelling between Mansfield, Chesterfield and Worksop, delivering better and smoother journeys, helping businesses and boosting the local economy.

“This is all part of our plans to build a road network that is fit for the future, with a record £15bn going into improving our roads, reducing congestion and keeping Britain moving.”

A similar scheme on the M25 which opened just over a year ago has seen the busiest journey times being halved and the number of collisions reduced by a fifth.

Highways England senior programme manager Andy Kirk said: “The new smart motorway will tackle congestion and improve journey times for the thousands of drivers who use it every day.

“The hard shoulder has been permanently converted to an extra lane to significantly increase capacity, and we’ll keep vehicles moving using variable speed limits.”

CCTV will be used 24 hours a day to enable staff in Highways England’s regional control centres near Nottingham and Wakefield to respond quickly to incidents, closing lanes using red ‘X’s on overhead signs if necessary.

Drivers using the upgraded stretch of the M1 will also be able to use emergency refuge areas if they break down.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.