Motorists using the M1 in the East Midlands are set to benefit from better, more reliable journeys as part of a £120m upgrade starting next week.
Highways England will be improving 7.5 miles of the vital route in a project which will make journeys faster and more reliable by providing a much needed extra lane in each direction, particularly around East Midlands Airport.
The work, which starts on 30 March, is part of a major government investment worth £15bn to build a modern and resilient road network.
Highways England project manager David Cooke said:
Drivers currently experience congestion and unreliable journey times at busy periods and traffic is predicted to increase, particularly with the growth expected at East Midlands Airport.
By upgrading this stretch of motorway, Highways England will reduce congestion and improve travel times and make journeys more reliable.
This work will also support the economy and boost economic growth within the region by improving traffic flow on the motorway reducing the cost of economic delay to commuters and business traffic.
The M1 is a strategic route that carries more than 130,000 vehicles per day between Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. It will be upgraded to smart motorway between Diseworth (junction 23a) and Risley (junction 25).
The scheme will also introduce new CCTV cameras and electronic information signs and signals on gantries - these will show the variable mandatory speed limits and manage traffic flow and incidents.
Emergency refuge areas will also be installed throughout the length of the scheme with the installation of a reinforced barrier and hardened central reserve to further improve safety.
Between Diseworth and Kegworth (junction 24) the hard shoulder will be used at peak times, and between Kegworth and Risley it will be permanently converted to a fourth traffic lane.
The work is due for completion in winter 2018.
Elsewhere, motorists are also being reminded that there will be a contraflow in place on the M1 between junction 24 for Kegworth to A453/ A42 Finger Farm Roundabout (near East Midlands Airport) while development work starts on the East Midlands Gateway scheme.
For more information about the smart motorway upgrade, visit the scheme website.
Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.