M1 Junction 10-13 Improvements

Project status:   Current
Region:  East


Start date:   December 2009
End date:  Spring 2013


Type:   Major Scheme
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Major Scheme

Part of our programme of improvements (value >10m)

Cost:  £412 to £504 million


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Managed Motorway Systems Testing

On the M1 between junctions 10 to 11 we have successfully completed the testing of the newly-installed managed motorway systems and this section is now fully operational.

The managed motorway systems was operational from Thursday 12th July 2012. Overhead electronic signals will display variable mandatory speed limits (appearing within red rings) and overhead message signs will indicate when drivers can use the hard shoulder as an extra lane.

Road users are advised to follow overhead signs and signals, and are reminded that when the hard shoulder is not indicated as a running lane it should be used for emergency purposes only, in accordance with Motorway Regulations.

For further information on managed motorways please see the link to the Hard Shoulder Running and What is Hard Shoulder Running.

Work elsewhere on the managed motorway scheme is progressing well and we are on target for full scheme completion in Spring 2013. We will be removing traffic restrictions including the 50 mph speed limit as work progresses and when it is safe to do so.

What is happening?
We are working to improve the M1 by making it a "managed motorway" between junctions 10 and 13. Managed motorways help relieve congestion by using technology to vary speed limits. They also allow the hard shoulder to be used as a running lane at peak times to create additional capacity (known as "hard shoulder running". They deliver these benefits at a significantly lower cost than conventional motorway widening and with less impact on the environment.

When and where is this happening?
Works commenced in December 2009 and are scheduled to be complete by Spring 2013. Works commenced on junctions 11 and 12 on 14 February 2011 and are also scheduled to complete by Spring 2013.

Why is this happening and what will it cost?
The M1 is a heavily used route that connects London with the Midlands and the North. It was designed and built in the 1950's and currently operates well over capacity, resulting in queues and delays at peak times.

Improvements to the M1 between Junctions 10 and 13 are required to cope with the high volume of traffic. The improvements will relieve congestion and reduce delays leading to more reliable journeys.
In addition to the hard shoulder works we have been permanently switching off and removing lighting for this section of road. The Junctions and their approaches, and a short section of the M1 either side of Junction 11, will remain lit.

Lighting on this section is in a poor state of repair and has come to the end of its useful working life. The original safety case for operating managed motorways was not based on road lighting being in place, and an assessment of this section of the M1 to current standards no longer justifies the need for or replacement lighting.

Following careful assessment, the comprehensive safety study shows that the managed motorway can be operated safely without lighting. As part of any managed motorway system, CCTV cameras are installed for traffic monitoring: those on this section of the M1 will be 'low light' cameras to enhance the capability of staff in the Regional Control Centre to monitor the M1 24 hours a day.

Removal of the lighting supports the Government's wider agenda on reducing carbon emissions. This will also reduce the level of light pollution, save energy costs, reduce scheme costs and remove the need for lighting maintenance thereby minimising subsequent traffic disruption. Since 2009, the Highways Agency has switched off motorway lighting, between midnight and 5am, at a number of sites across England, and evidence so far suggests that this has not had adverse impact on safety.

How will the scheme be carried out?
On 15 January 2009 the Secretary of State announced that the M1 Junctions 10 to 13 scheme would be taken forward as a "Hard Shoulder Running Scheme". This is being implemented within the existing highway boundary, eliminating the need to acquire additional land. To maximize the benefit of "Hard Shoulder Running", the capacity of junctions 11 and 12 also need to be improved. These proposed improvements require land take and are therefore subject to statutory procedures, which have now been completed.

How will this impact on my journey?
Works are now taking place to between junctions 11 and 12, please look under Journey Impact for more information.

What are the benefits?

  • Reliable journey times
  • Reduced congestion
  • Enhanced information to drivers
  • Quicker response times to incidents

How do I find out more information?
More information will be posted on this project page as it becomes available. You can subscribe to be alerted when updates are made.

If you have any queries about this project you should contact the Highways Agency Information Line by emailing ha_​info@​highways.​gsi.​gov.​uk or calling 0300 123 5000.


The managed motorway systems on the M1 between Junctions 10 to 11 became operational on Thursday 12 July 2012. Overhead electronic signals will display variable mandatory speed limits (appearing within red rings) and overhead message signs will indicate when drivers can use the hard shoulder as an extra lane.

Three miles of roadworks, including the temporary 50mph speed limit, from the M1 between Junction 10 (Luton-South) and Junction 11 (Luton/Dunstable) were removed overnight, Monday 14 May. From 15 May, the Highways Agency will be able to use the newly installed overhead driver information message signs and set variable speed limits (displayed in a red ring) to control incidents - improving traffic flow and safety for road users. When variable message signs are not displayed traffic using this section of the M1 will be able to run at the national speed limit.

On M1 Junctions 10 to 11 we have successfully completed the testing of the newly-installed managed motorway systems.

The managed motorway systems will be operational from Thursday 12 July 2012. Overhead electronic signals will display variable mandatory speed limits (appearing within red rings) and overhead message signs will indicate when drivers can use the hard shoulder as an extra lane.

Road users are advised to follow overhead signs and signals, and are reminded that when the hard shoulder is not indicated as a running lane it should be used for emergency purposes only, in accordance with Motorway Regulations.

The hard shoulder is not available between Junctions 11 to 13 for use as a traffic lane, so drivers can only use it in an emergency situation. They will also be able to use the newly built emergency refuge areas (large lay-bys) which have orange roadside telephones installed in them.

Drivers are advised that work to deliver the managed motorway on the M1 between Junctions 10 and 13 continues, as below:

At peak times three lanes are open to traffic in each direction on the M1. Any lane or carriageway closures are undertaken at an off-peak or overnight period and are kept to a minimum.

Between Junctions 12 and 13 there are 3 lanes of traffic in each direction. The Northbound carriageway is subject to a 50mph enforceable limit 24 hours a day for the safety of both the workforce and the travelling public, with cones along the hard shoulder for works within the verge. Restrictions on the southbound carriageway between junctions 13 and 12, including the 50 mph speed restriction have been removed.

Between Junctions 11 and 12 there are 3 lanes of traffic in each direction subject to a 50mph enforceable limit 24 hours a day. This limit controls the flow of traffic providing a more reliable journey for road users and improved safety for both motorists and our workforce.

Between Junctions 10 and 11 there are 3 lanes of traffic in each direction with the option to increase to 4 lanes under peak traffic conditions. The carriageway is fully operational under an enforceable managed motorway up to national speed limit.

We are currently using rolling road closures in order to allow some work to be carried out safely. A rolling road closure is when we use Highways Agency Traffic Officer or Police Vehicles to gradually slow down the following motorist and then stop them temporarily to allow enough time for work to be carried out, or for debris or an incident to be cleared in safety.

The majority of the rolling road closures on the M1 Junctions 10 to 13 Scheme are required for the installation of new gantries which span both the Northbound and Southbound carriageways. The installation of gantries is currently programmed for Wednesday to Saturday nights when traffic flows are lower in order to minimise delays to the travelling public. Some delays are likely during these works and motorists are advised to allow extra time for their journeys.

NIGHT TIME LANE AND SLIP ROAD CLOSURES - APPROXIMATE HOURS 22:00hrs to 06.00hrs

Thursday 27th September to Sunday 7th October 2012

Thursday 27th September

  • N/B between Jct 10 + 13 Various lane closures
  • S/B between Jct 14 + 10 Various lane closures
  • S/B Jct 12 Entry slip closed
  • M1 Jct 11 (A505) various lanes closed on the roundabout. All routes still accessible.

Friday 28th September

  • N/B between Jct 10 + 13 Various lane closures
  • S/B between Jct 13 + 11 Various lane closures
  • N/B Jct 12 Entry slip closed
  • M1 Jct 11 (A505) various lanes closed on the roundabout. All routes still accessible.
  • Rolling road blocks programmed for Gantry erection- N/B between J11 + J12. S/B between J12 + J11

Saturday 29th September

  • N/B between Jct 12 + 13 Various lane closures

Sunday 30th September

  • N/B between Jct 12 + 13 Various lane closures

Monday 1st October

  • N/B between Jct 10 + 13 Various lane closures
  • S/B between Jct 14 + 10 Various lane closures
  • N/B Jct 11 Entry slip closed

Tuesday 2nd October

  • N/B between Jct 10 + 13 Various lane closures
  • S/B between Jct 13 + 11 Various lane closures
  • N/B Jct 11 Exit slip closed
  • N/B Jct 12 Entry slip closed

Wednesday 3rd October

  • N/B between Jct 10 + 13 Various lane closures
  • S/B between Jct 13 + 11 Various lane closures
  • N/B Jct 11 Entry slip closed
  • S/B Jct 11 Exit slip closed
  • Rolling road blocks programmed for Gantry erection- N/B between J11 + J12. S/B between J12 + J11

Thursday 4th October

  • N/B between Jct 10 + 13 Various lane closures
  • S/B between Jct 13 + 10 Various lane closures
  • S/B Jct 12 Exit slip closed
  • S/B Jct 11 Exit slip closed

Friday 5th October

  • N/B between Jct 10 + 13 Various lane closures
  • S/B between Jct 13 + 11 Various lane closures
  • S/B Jct 11 Entry slip closed

Saturday 6th October

  • N/B between Jct 12 to 13 Various lane closures
  • S/B between Jct 13 to 12 Various lane closures
  • S/B Jct 12 Entry slip closed
  • Rolling road blocks programmed for Gantry erection- N/B between J11 + J12. S/B between J12 + J11

Sunday 7th October

  • No planned works

Please obey the speed limits, they are in place for your safety and that of our workforce on site. Motorists are advised to allow extra time for their journeys whilst the road works are taking place.

Please note that this information is not updated in real time. Please check Traffic England for the latest information and current traffic conditions.

The improvements at Junction 11 and 12 aim to have minimum impact on the environment.

Surveys have been carried out to identify areas of importance for archaeology, ecology, cultural heritage and landscape.

The improvements at Junction 11 will not affect any Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) or County Wildlife Sites (CWS).

The Junction 12 improvements would require landtake with the Green Belt. They would not effect any Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) but some of the options may indirectly impact on County Wildlife Sites.

Landscaping proposals would include tree and shrub planting as required at both Junctions.

Noise levels are likely to increase at both Junctions during the construction of the improvements but overall noise levels following construction are unlikely to change.

Junction 11 is in an Air Quality Management Area. Levels of Nitrogen Dioxide in the air are monitored to check that they are not too high.

There is likely to be a small increase in air pollution at Junction 12 which would affect a small number of nearby properties.

Safe crossing routes for pedestrians and cyclists would be provided at both Junctions by improving the existing crossing routes.