News story

M1 motorway improvements announced

M1 capacity and safety improvements given go-ahead.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


A scheme to provide additional capacity, improve journey time reliability, and increase safety at 2 junctions on the M1 was today (29 September 2010) given the go-ahead by Transport Minister Mike Penning.

Junction 11 (Dunstable) and 12 (Toddington) will be upgraded to maximise the benefits of the managed motorways system - including hard shoulder running - currently under construction on a 15-mile stretch of the motorway between Junction 10 (Luton) and 13 (Milton Keynes).

Confirmation of the go-ahead for the junction improvements comes following a public inquiry. The minister today confirmed the scheme orders had been approved in line with the recommendations of the inquiry and that construction will begin next year.

Transport Minister, Mike Penning, said:

I am pleased to be able to give the go-ahead to these important junction improvements today. They will help maximise the benefits of managed motorways on a nationally-important route linking London and the south east with the Midlands and the north.

As well as improving traffic flow on the motorway, slip roads and junctions, the scheme will also provide improved facilities for cyclists and pedestrians, including a combined footway and cycleway over the A5120 at junction 12.

Today’s decision will allow the Highways Agency to deliver the full package of improvements by 2013. When the scheme is complete, the Highways Agency will open up the hard shoulder as a running lane and use variable speed limits to improve traffic flow during busy periods on the M1 junctions 10 to 13. This will reduce congestion and improve safety on this key artery for both the national and local economies.

Further information

The scheme is made up of 2 work packages.

Mainline Works - delivery of Hard Shoulder Running (HSR) within the existing highway boundary between Junctions 10 to 13.

Junction Works - improvements to Junctions 11 and 12 which are required to resolve capacity issues at the junctions and to prevent traffic queuing back onto the mainline, thereby disrupting the operation of hard shoulder running.

The mainline works were not subject to full statutory procedures because they are being delivered within the highway boundary. The junction improvements, however, require land-take and are subject to full statutory procedures, including draft orders and a public local inquiry.

In the summer, Ministers agreed that public inquiries planned for road schemes should be postponed until the completion of the spending review. However, the public inquiry into M1 J10 - 13 junctions was allowed to go ahead given that the improvements are an integral part of a scheme already under construction.

A local public inquiry was held for the at the Superdrug Stores Plc Distribution Centre, Prologis Park, Dunstable, on seven sitting days between 8 -17 June 2010, before Mr M P Hill, BSc, MSc, CEng, MICE, FGS, an independent Inspector appointed by the Secretaries of State for Transport and for Planning.

Download today’s decision, together with the inspector’s report.

The junction improvements are planned to start in February 2011. Construction of the M1 Junctions 10 to 13 Hard Shoulder Running scheme commenced in December 2009. Both schemes will be completed in 2013.

Junction 12 will be improved by providing a new signalised half-cloverleaf junction located approximately 40 metres to the north of the existing A5120 over-bridge at Junction 12, with new slip roads connecting the motorway to the A5120. Junction 11 will be fully signalled with additional lanes on slips roads and additional lanes on the A505 Dunstable Road approaches.

Funding for the full scheme, including the junction improvements, was approved by Treasury in December 2009.

Roads media enquiries

Published 29 September 2010