Drivers have been warned to brace themselves for a further 18 months of delays on the M1 after more information was released about the new Smart motorway scheme.
Current work on the M1 which has plagued motorists for the last 12 months is due to come to end within eight weeks. But work will immediately start on the new Smart motorway between junctions 16 and 19 of the M1.
Earlier this year, the Highways Agency would not confirm how long this new work was expected to last.
But this afternoon a spokesman said the Smart motorway work was due to last between 12 to 18 months and that motorists should expect similar levels of disruption during that time.
The agency says that the upgrade of the motorway will make improvements in the long run and has launched an online exhibition to inform drivers of the benefits.
A spokesman said: “As part of the ‘smart motorway’ upgrade, the hard shoulder will be converted to a traffic lane and signing and technology will tell drivers what speed to drive at, if lanes are blocked or closed and about incidents up ahead. Work is set to begin in the autumn.
“The virtual exhibition will give people the opportunity to view and comment on the scheme. People interested in the planned motorway upgrade, will be able to visit the online exhibition until November 30, 2015,” he said.
Asad Khan, Highways England project lead, said: “We are very pleased to have launched our interactive web-based digital public exhibition today. We believe this will be a much more convenient and innovative way to inform road users, the local community and our stakeholders about the construction work and its possible implications, for both those living close to the motorway and those using the motorway on a regular basis.”
The High Sheriff of Northamptonshire, Dr Ahmed Muktar who got the opportunity to have a closer look at the online exhibition said: “I travel through the M1 junctions 19 to 16 extensively, both in my official capacity as the High Sheriff of Northamptonshire and as a private road user.
“I was very interested to learn more about Highways England’s plans to convert this long stretch of road to a smart motorway.
“I found the scheme’s digital public information exhibition both interesting and useful. I recommend it to Northamptonshire residents, businesses, our extensive transport hub and other users of the M1 who want to find out what will be happening along the route.”
The digital public information exhibition can be found at www.highways.gov.uk/roads/road-projects/m1-junctions-19-to-16-all-lane-running/