M1 Junctions 32-35a: Smart Motorway

Project status:   Planned

Start date:   Winter 2014/15
End date:  Q3 2015/16

Type:   Major Scheme
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Major Scheme

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

Cost:  £100.2 million – £142.1 million


Pre-Construction Exhibitions October 2014

We have held exhibitions in the local area, giving you the opportunity to find out more about the construction phase of the scheme and to ask any questions you may have.

‘The Source’ at Meadowhall, 300 Meadowhall Way, Sheffield, S9 1EA

Friday 10 October 2pm-7pm

Saturday 11 October 11am-4pm

Brinsworth Community Hall, Brinsworth Lane, Rotherham S60 5BU 

Saturday  18 October 2014 11am-4pm

The display boards from the events can be found in the publications section.

Speed limit Statutory instrument Consultation

We have previously consulted on proposals to limit speeds to 60mph between 7am and 7pm seven days a week because of the potential effect of the new scheme on local air quality.

This option has not been accepted as the preferred option and instead we are rigorously investigating alternatives while work progresses on the scheme in the next 12-18 months. The full consultation outcome report has been published on GOV​.UK.


Consultation Responses

The summary of consultation responses for M1 Junctions 28 to 31 Smart Motorway, Junctions 31 to 32 Variable Mandatory Speed Limits, Junctions 32 to 35a Smart Motorway is now published to the GOV​.UK website.

What is happening?

We propose to improve the M1 by making it a "smart motorway" (previously known as managed motorways) between junctions 32 and 35a. Smart motorways help relieve congestion by using technology to vary speed limits. They deliver these benefits at a significantly lower cost than conventional motorway widening and with less impact on the environment during construction.

When and where is this happening?

In the October 2010 Spending Review, the Chancellor announced that the M1 junctions 32-35a Smart Motorway scheme will be prepared for start of construction before 2015.

We intend to commence work in Winter 2014-15 and to finish work by Winter 2015-16.

The scheme will be carried out on the M1 between junctions 32-35a, located between Rotherham and Sheffield.

Why is this happening and what will it cost?

The M1 in South Yorkshire is an important route for regional and international traffic. The section between Junction 32 (M18) and Junction 35 (A616) carries more than 110,000 vehicles each day and suffers from congestion and delay at peak times.

The estimated cost of this scheme is in the range of £94m to £133m. (This includes the completed M1 Junctions 32-35a Concrete Barrier and Drainage Renewal Works)

How will the scheme be carried out?

Using our knowledge of operating the M42 and M6 smart motorway schemes we have developed the smart motorway concept. These developments include permanently converting the hard should to a running lane and developing the design so that schemes will have:

  • Fewer overhead gantries which span the whole motorway
  • Fewer signals over each lane and more verge mounting signing
  • Comprehensive CCTV cameras – although there will no longer be the need for the dedicated cameras and operating systems required for opening and closing the hard shoulder.

A number of cameras, information signs and signals on gantries will be installed as part of the improvement scheme. Signs and signals will still be used to inform drivers of conditions on the network and when variable speed limits are in place.

What are the benefits?

This project will relieve congestion and smooth the flow of the traffic, improving safety and journey times. These benefits will also support economic development in the region.

We already have evidence of the benefits that a smart motorway scheme can bring. The first managed motorway scheme opened to traffic on the M42 motorway in 2006. Recent analysis of the data gathered since opening has found that journey time reliability improved by 22 per cent and reduced emissions by up to 10 per cent due to traffic flowing more smoothly.

In addition, personal injury accidents have reduced by more than half (55.7%) since hard shoulder running was introduced. There was also an overall reduction in the severity of accidents with zero fatalities and fewer seriously injured.

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.

You can now also follow us on Facebook.

Business Case

M1 Junctions 32-35a Managed Motorway - Business Case
Business Case - Information correct as at December 2010


Improving the M1 Junctions 32 to 35a - Public Information Exhibition Leaflet
Improving the M1 Junctions 32 to 35a - Public Information Exhibition Leaflet - October 2014
M1 junctions 28 to 35a: maximum mandatory speed limit consultation document
M1 junctions 28 to 35a: maximum mandatory speed limit consultation document
M1 Junctions 32-35a Managed Motorway - Public Information Exhibition Board
M1 Junctions 28-31 Managed Motorways - Public Exhibition Boards
M1 Junctions 32-35a Managed Motorway - Public Exhibition Poster
M1 Junctions 32-35a Managed Motorway - Public Exhibition Poster - January 2013



M1 Junctions 32-35a Managed Motorway - Public Exhibition Boards
This is a copy of the information that was on display at the public exhibition in January 2013.


M1 Junctions 28 to 35a Air Quality Mitigation Summary of Consultation Responses
Responses to the consultation on proposal to introduce a maximum mandatory 60mph speed limit on the M1 between junction 28 and 35a.
M1 J32 to 35a Smart Motorway - Environmental Assessment Report
This Environmental Assessment Report (EAR) presents the findings of an environmental review and assessment of the potential environmental impacts and effects of the implementation of the proposed scheme on the M1 between J32 and 35a.