This twelve mile section of the M25 on the Kent/Surrey border is a new style of ‘smart motorway’ where pioneering technology and use of the hard shoulder as a permanent running lane combine to reduce congestion and ease traffic flow.
Smart motorways deliver additional road capacity more quickly and at less cost than traditional road widening schemes, while remaining at least as safe.
Roads Minister Robert Goodwill said:
Motorways are the backbone of Britain. With around four million vehicles using them each day, they are vital to building the UK economy. This additional capacity on the M25 is part of the government’s record investment of £15.1 billion to provide over 400 lane miles of additional capacity by 2021.
Highways Agency Chief Executive Graham Dalton said:
This is the second section of the new generation of smart motorways to be opened and demonstrates our role as a world class roads operator. We have built upon our experience of operating the M42 pilot scheme to make the new generation quicker to build, more efficient to operate and more intuitive for drivers, while maintaining safety for everyone.
The improvement work on the M25 has been carried out by Connect Plus.
Chief Executive Officer of Connect Plus Tim Jones said:
I am delighted that we have achieved another major milestone on our journey to transform the M25, on behalf of the Highways Agency, into a high capacity world-class motorway with exemplary levels of safety and reliability.
Connect Plus has implemented a range of new and innovative technology and new operating procedures to this section of the strategic road network. We now look forward to operating it in a safe and effective manner and to completing the Northern Section later this year.
Work to convert this section of motorway, between junctions 5 and 6/7, to smart motorway began in May 2013 following the completion of the barrier upgrade. Three lanes were kept open in both directions at peak times using narrow lanes.
New technology has been added to the road to provide drivers with safe and reliable journeys. This includes infra-red CCTV, being used for the first time by the Highways Agency, to enable staff in the control centres to have increased visibility of the network and will be able to respond even quicker to incidents. The section between junctions 5 and 7 includes:
- 9 gantries that span both carriageways
- 10 refuge areas
- 13 emergency telephones
- 88 overhead signals
- 33 verge mounted signs
- 38 CCTV cameras
A section on the northern part of the M25 opened earlier this month, with another on the northern section of the M25 due to open later in the year, and similar schemes being rolled out across the country including the M1, M3, and M62.
The additional lanes mean that the M25 has now been widened to four lanes for 75 miles between junctions 5 and 25.
Road users can find out more about smart motorways online, on YouTube, in retail outlets such as motorway service areas, through radio advertising later this month, and leaflets. For further information please visit the Highways Agency’s website
Further updates will be available on Facebook page and on Twitter.
Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000
Journalists should contact the Highways Agency press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer