WORK ON a £120m upgrade of the M1 in West Yorkshire is getting under way months ahead of schedule.
The Highways Agency has previously said that improvements to six miles of the traffic-choked motorway near Wakefield would begin at some point during the 2014-15 financial year.
Yesterday, however, project bosses announced a revised start date of Monday, November 11.
The work will see the hard shoulders on both of the motorway’s carriageways turned into permanent traffic lanes in a bid to ease congestion. It is hoped the scheme will now be completed by September 2015.
The so-called ‘smart motorway’ upgrade follows similar changes that were recently introduced on the M62 between Brighouse and Rothwell.
David Pilsworth, from the Highways Agency, said: “The M1 project will be the second scheme of its kind in West Yorkshire and we know from the positive feedback we have received following the M62 improvements that drivers in this region are already enjoying the benefits.”
The stretch of motorway getting the makeover runs between junction 39 at Durkar and junction 42, where the M1 meets the M62 at Lofthouse Interchange. More than 113,000 vehicles each day travel up and down the M1 in West Yorkshire, with around a quarter of those vehicles being HGVs.
The new scheme will differ slightly from the system now in operation on the M62, where the hard shoulders are only opened to traffic during periods of high congestion. Further information about the M1 project will be available at public exhibition events taking place at Wakefield’s Cedar Court Hotel from midday to 8pm next Friday, November 8, and 10am to 4pm the following day.