Press release

Road users alerted to overnight closures for M1 smart motorway work

A new phase of work to convert a section of the M1 in West Yorkshire to a smart motorway gets underway next week.


Highways Agency contractors will be cutting across both the north and southbound lanes over a series of nights between junctions 40 and 42 near Wakefield from next Monday (30 June) to install ducting to carry traffic management technology.

To do this work safely, road workers need a series of 23 overnight closures to either the north or southbound carriageway. All closures will start at 8pm and remain in place until 6am the following day. In all cases, there will be clearly signed diversion routes in place.

The work is an essential part of the £120 million major smart motorway scheme to reduce congestion and increase capacity on the M1 near Wakefield. The closures follow the successful completion of the safety barrier replacement in the central reservation and the traffic management will be switched to the hard shoulder where the next phase of work will be carried out.

David Pilsworth, Highways Agency Project Manager, said:

More than 113,000 vehicles use this section of the M1 every day, which means congestion is a serious problem and was highly likely to increase unless action was taken. The smart motorway upgrade will help to improve access, reduce congestion and make journey times more reliable, on what is a vital economic route both regionally and nationally.

This phase of the work will take place on several nights when traffic flows are at their lowest, meaning disruption and inconvenience can be kept to the minimum possible.

The overnight closures will run on the following dates during the period 30 June to 10 August and drivers are advised to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journeys:

  • 30 June-1 July - J40 to J41 northbound (2 nights)
  • 8-11 July - J41 to J40 southbound (4 nights)
  • 12-13 July - J40 to J41 northbound (2 nights)
  • 14-15 July - J41 to J40 southbound (2 nights)
  • 16-17 July - J40 to J41 northbound (2 nights)
  • 19-20 July - J41 to J40 southbound (2 nights)
  • 21-25 July - J41 to J42 northbound (5 nights)
  • 2-3 August - J42 to J41 southbound (2 nights)
  • 9-10 August - J41 to J42 northbound (2 nights)

Work started earlier than planned, in November 2013. Once completed in September 2015 the M1 smart motorway scheme will add much-needed capacity to six miles of the M1 between junction 39 (Durkar) and junction 42 (Lofthouse) by converting the hard shoulder to a permanent traffic lane.

Variable mandatory speed limits, displayed on overhead and verge-mounted signs, will help smooth the flow of traffic and reduce congestion.

Real-time traffic information is available from the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000, or from the Highways Agency website.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways Agency press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.

Published 26 June 2014