This road project has now been completed. This page will be available for 24 months from the date of scheme completion, after which time you will only be able to access this information on The National Archive version of this page.

M1 Junction 10-13 Improvements: Smart Motorway

Project status:   Completed
Region:  East

Start date:   December 2009
End date:  December 2012

Type:   Major Scheme
help icon

Major Scheme

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

Cost:  £327 million


Where was the project located?

The project was located on the M1 between Junctions 10 and 13. The completed scheme forms a managed motorway, which helps relieve congestion by using technology to vary speed limits. It also allows the hard shoulder to be used as a running lane, when the overhead message signs indicate that drivers can use the hard shoulder as an extra lane.

Why was the scheme needed?

The M1 is a heavily used route that connects London with the Midlands and the North. It was designed in the 1950’s and was operating at well over capacity, resulting in queues and delays, particularly at peak times.

The estimated final cost for this scheme is £327 million. This figure is subject to final account and may result in a variation of this figure.

What work was carried out?

We began construction in December 2009 and declared the scheme Open for Traffic in December 2012 when the managed motorway systems between Junctions 10 and 13 became fully operational. Road works remained at the site until Summer 2013 in order to complete residual project work and to replace the posts in sections of the central reservation because they are coming to the end of their natural lives.

We installed:

  • 58 new overhead steel gantries, ranging in size from 38m to 67m, and three new cantilever signs. Gantries carry the signage and technology that advises drivers when the hard shoulder is open for use by traffic and display variable speed limits to manage traffic flow and reduce congestion.
  • 387 electronic signs and signals, including 67 of the latest matrix signs (fourth generation), with the ability to display pictograms as well as text and two of the (third generation) driver information panels that are larger than previous variants and carry information on road conditions.
  • 33 Emergency Roadside Telephones
  • 30 Emergency Refuge Areas for breakdowns. If the breakdown occurs in a live lane, signs and signals will appear on the overhead gantry until assistance arrives.
  • 296 CCTV cameras to monitor both the hard shoulder and the Emergency Refuge Areas
  • 150 miles of technology cables
  • 1076 loops beneath the road surface to monitor traffic flow and speeds.
  • 1 new junction bridge built at junction 12.

Through-junction running is in place at Junctions 10, 11 and 12, which provides a continuous four lane section of motorway making more of the hard shoulder available to traffic at busy times.

We improved Junction 11 by widening the carriageways of the four slip roads and providing additional lanes on the roundabout. We also widened the A505 approaches to the roundabout. All approaches to the roundabout now also have permanent traffic signals. Facilities for pedestrians would be improved by providing signal controlled crossings at the slip roads.

Junction 12 was also improved by constructing a new junction approximately

40 metres to the north of the original junction. A new bridge was built carrying a wider A5120 over the M1. We also enhanced routes for pedestrians and cyclists. New underpasses were also built under the slip roads to maintain access to fields and routes for pedestrians.

How did this benefit road users?

These works will:

  • Improve safety and reduce congestion
  • Variable mandatory speed limits reduce congestion during busy periods by easing traffic flow
  • Hard shoulder lane running reduces congestion by increasing road capacity
  • Improve traffic flow and journey time reliability

For incident management gantry signs further back from an incident will control the flow of approaching traffic, ensuring that vehicles avoid the incident and pass at a safe speed

With the aid of the electronically controlled signage lanes can be cleared to allow essential emergency services access to the incident

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.

Following scheme completion, we undertake a Post Opening Project Evaluation (POPE) to assess whether the scheme has achieved its anticipated outcomes. The evaluation is generally carried out at one and five years after scheme opening. The results of POPE allow us to learn lessons and improve future scheme delivery.

Learn more about POPE process –  http://​www​.highways​.gov​.uk/​o​u​r​-​r​o​a​d​-​n​e​t​w​o​r​k​/​m​a​n​a​g​i​n​g​-​o​u​r​-​r​o​a​d​s​/​i​m​p​r​o​v​i​n​g​-​o​u​r​-​n​e​t​w​o​r​k​/​a​p​p​r​a​i​s​a​l​-​a​n​d​-​e​v​a​l​u​a​t​i​o​n​/​p​o​s​t​-​o​p​e​n​i​n​g​-​p​r​o​j​e​c​t​-​e​v​a​l​u​a​t​i​o​n​-​p​o​p​e​/​p​o​s​t​-​o​p​e​n​i​n​g​-​p​r​o​j​e​c​t​-​e​v​a​l​u​a​t​i​o​n​-​p​o​p​e​-​o​f​-​m​a​j​o​r​-​s​c​h​e​m​es/

How do I find out more information?

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.

How do I find out more information ?

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.


M1 Junction 10 to 13 Improvement - Driver Information Leaflet
M1 Junction 10 to 13 Improvement - Driver Information Leaflet




M1 Junction 10 - 13 Improvements Environmental Statement
Environmental statement and non-technical summary of the environmental statement