M1 and M5 emergency area retrofit programme

We’re building additional emergency areas on our all lane running smart motorways in the Midlands.

Start date April 2024
End date Spring 2025
Cost £390 million national programme

Project information

View a scheme

You can view more details about schemes taking place in the Midlands below:

We'll build six additional emergency areas between junctions 23a and 25 of the M1 by the end of November 2024.

Between early February and late March 2024, we closed one lane of the motorway so our team could safely clear vegetation. We maintained the lane closure to enable the installation of signage, CCTV and safety barriers. We're now in the 'main works' construction phase of the scheme and to prioritise safety for motorists and our workforce, we've kept lane one closed and the speed limit reduced to 50mph in lanes two to four.

The following closures will be in place overnight from 8pm until 6am, unless stated*.

Date

Closure and Diversion Route

24-25 June 2024

Lane 1-3 closures on M1 northbound between J24a and J25

24 June & 1 July 2024* (00:00 – 23:59)

Lane 1 closure on M1 northbound between J24 and J25.

24 June & 1 July 2024* (00:00 – 23:59)

Lane 1 closure on M1 southbound between J26 and J23.

26 June 2024

Lane 1-3 closures on M1 southbound between J25 and J23a.

Please note that other roadworks are in place near the M1, so please check local travel information before starting your journey. Details of all full closures on England’s motorways and major A roads over the next week can be found at: www.nationalhighways.co.uk/travel-updates/road-closure-report.

We’re sorry for the disruption this work may cause to your journey and we encourage drivers to plan ahead and allow extra time when travelling. All closures are subject to change at short notice due to unforeseen circumstances or poor weather conditions. Please check this webpage and our X (formerly Twitter) account @HighwaysEMIDS before travelling for the latest information.

We'll build 20 additional emergency areas between junctions 28 and 30 of the M1 with construction work starting from Tuesday 2 April 2024. Our work is scheduled to be complete by the end of January 2025.

We’re building 20 additional emergency areas between junctions 16 and 19 of the M1. Our work is scheduled to be complete by the end of March 2025.

In preparation for the start of main construction, we've cleared vegetation and will begin to install safety barriers, CCTV and signage.

On occasion we may require to put in place closures so our team can work safely. We'll notify drivers in advance of these closures, as below.

The following lane closures will be in place overnight between 9.00pm and 6.00am:

Date

Closure

8-23 April 2024

Lanes 1/2/3 closed M1 northbound from Watford Gap services to J18

8-10 April 2024

Lanes 1/2/3 closed M1 northbound from J18 to J19

18 April 2024

Lanes 1/2/3 closed M1 northbound from J18 to J19

8-10 April 2024

Lanes 1/2/3 closed M1 southbound from J16 to Watford Gap services

11-19 April 2024

Lanes 1/2/3 closed M1 southbound from J18 to Watford Gap services. This includes a lane 1 closure on the M45 link

22-23 April 2024

Lanes 1/2/3 closed M1 southbound J18 to Watford Gap services. This includes a lane 1 closure on the M45 link

15-16 April 2024

Lanes 1/2/3 closed M1 southbound from J19 to J17

20 April 2024

Lanes 1/2/3 closed M1 southbound from J19 to J17

8 April 2024

Lanes 1/2/3 closed M1 southbound from J16 to Watford Gap services

22 April 2024

Lanes 1/2/3 closed M1 southbound from J16 to Watford Gap services

9-10 April 2024

Lanes 1/2/3 closed M1 southbound from J19 to Watford Gap services

16-19 April 2024

Lanes 1/2/3 closed M1 southbound from J19 to Watford Gap services

19 April 2024

Lanes 1 and 2 closed M1 southbound from J19 to J18. This includes a lane 1 closure on the M45 link

22-26 April 2024

Lanes 1 and 2 closed M1 southbound from J19 to J18. This includes a lane 1 closure on the M45 link

22 April 2024

Lanes 1/2/3 closed M1 northbound from Watford Gap services to J16

24-26 April 2024

Lanes 1/2/3 M1 northbound from Watford Gap services to J16

24-26 April 2024

Lanes 1/2/3 closed M1 northbound from J17 to J19

23-26 April 2024

Lanes 1/2/3 M1 southbound from J16 to Watford Gap services

We’re sorry for the disruption this work may cause to your journey and we encourage drivers to plan ahead and allow extra time when travelling. All closures are subject to change at short notice due to unforeseen circumstances or poor weather conditions. Please check this webpage and our X (formerly Twitter) account (@HighwaysEMIDS) before travelling for the latest information.

Details of all full closures on England’s motorways and major A roads over the next week can be found at: www.nationalhighways.co.uk/travel-updates/road-closure-report.

We're building 10 additional emergency areas between junctions 4a and 6 of the M5, work is scheduled to be complete by March 2025.

We're currently carrying out earthworks excavations at the new emergency area locations.

Next week, we require overnight lane closures in order to deliver and crane off sheet piles to some of the works areas.

The following closures will be in place overnight from 8pm until 6am:

Date of closure

Details of closure

Diversion route

Monday 24 and Tuesday 25 June

M5 J5 to 4a southbound – lane 1, 2 and 3 closure

Not required as lane closures only

We’re sorry for the disruption this work may cause to your journey and we encourage drivers to plan ahead and allow extra time when travelling. All closures are subject to change at short notice due to unforeseen circumstances or poor weather conditions. Please check this webpage and our X (formerly Twitter) account (@HighwaysWMIDS) before travelling for the latest information.

Details of all full closures on England’s motorways and major A roads over the next week can be found at: www.nationalhighways.co.uk/travel-updates/road-closure-report.

Overview

Emergency areas provide a place to stop in an emergency if drivers can't exit the motorway or stop at a motorway service area.

They are marked by blue signs featuring an orange SOS telephone symbol. Each is coloured orange and is around the same length as a football pitch. They’re positioned at regular intervals, providing somewhere safe to stop and have phones linked directly to our control rooms.

Read our advice about driving on motorways, including what to do in an emergency.

Our investment in new emergency areas is designed to help road users feel safe and be even safer on our roads. Other improvements we're making include work on:

  • technology, such as stopped vehicle detection
  • better and more signs
  • more information about smart motorways online and in an updated Highway Code

Through all the work we're doing, we’re determined to:

  • further reduce the number of casualties on our high-speed road network
  • improve public confidence in our smart motorways
  • continue to build and operate one of the safest and best performing road networks in the world 

Documents

Traffic information

Information about scheduled roadworks and events on our motorways and major roads.

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