M4 Junctions 3-12: Smart Motorway
Part of our programme of improvements (value >10m)
We believe that the proposed smart motorway scheme meets the strategic, economic, social and environmental objectives better than any other scheme option (see section 3 for details of the proposed scheme development to date), providing a robust transport solution that addresses national, regional and local needs in the most appropriate way. However, it is important for us to understand the views of the community and other stakeholders and to consider these as we continue to develop our scheme proposals.
We previously held public exhibitions during the early stages of the scheme’s development to provide members of the public and stakeholders with the opportunity to understand the smart motorway concept and our initial scheme designs for the M4. These public exhibitions were held over a six week period between the 18 March and 30 April 2014 and enabled us to talk to local people about smart motorways and to seek their views. The feedback received from this exercise has enabled key issues raised by the community to be properly considered and addressed as part of the development of our proposals.
We have now undertaken public consultation as part of the statutory process set out in the Planning Act 2008. This consultation exercise ran from 10 November 2014 until 21 December 2014 during which we invited comments on the scheme proposals. For more information about our proposals please read our consultation brochure which is available on the publications page. Feedback received from the consultation exercise will help shape the final scheme proposals and form the basis of our application for a Development Consent Order. We will publish these findings in a consultation report on our website in due course.
Statutory Instrument Public Consultation
The Highways Agency proposes to improve the M4 by making it a ‘smart motorway’ between Junctions 3 and 12. Smart motorways help relieve congestion by converting the hard shoulder to a running lane and using technology to vary the mandatory speed limits. The proposed smart motorway scheme will enable proactive management of the M4 carriageway, including slip roads and motorway to motorway intersections between junctions 3 (the junction with the A312) and 12 (the junction with the A4) on this major section of motorway.
We are keen for any organisations, businesses or individuals affected by these proposals to provide their views. We are interested specifically in how this could affect you, your organisation or those you represent.
The Statutory Instruction consultation ran for a period of 6 weeks commencing on 12 January 2015 and closed on 22 February 2015. All comments received during the consultation will be recorded and carefully considered by the project team.
This report will be available on the Highways Agency website in due course.
What is happening?
The Highways Agency is proposing to improve a 32 mile stretch of the M4 motorway between junction 3 (Hayes) and junction 12 (Theale) by making it a smart motorway. (See Figure 1).The smart motorway proposal on the M4 will use the latest technology to improve journeys by monitoring traffic flow and setting speed limits accordingly to keep traffic moving smoothly, instead of continually stopping and starting. The proposal also involves converting the hard shoulder permanently to a traffic lane to create the much needed extra capacity necessary to support economic growth. Information about road conditions and speed limits will be displayed to drivers on electronic road signs.
The conversion of the hard shoulder into a running lane will be continuous through junctions unless
there is an operational reason not to do so. Through junction running arrangements, where the new
running lane will continue through junctions, are proposed at junctions 4, 5, 6, 7, 8/9 and 11. It is
not proposed to use through junction running arrangements at either end of the scheme at junctions 3 and 12 or at junctions 4b and 10, which are motorway to motorway links. See section two for
To enable the provision of a smart motorway along the whole length of the proposed scheme, it will be necessary to widen or replace a number of bridges where there is currently no hard shoulder.
When and where is this happening?
On 8th May 2012, the Roads Minister Mike Penning, announced that funding would be provided to develop the M4 J3-12 Smart Motorway scheme, to ensure a "pipeline" of future Highways Agency major infrastructure improvements will be maintained, contributing to future economic growth, and supporting Government's National Infrastructure Plan. By developing the scheme now, it will be in a good position to be considered for delivery in the early years of the next spending review period (post 2015).
The Planning Act 2008 requires the developer of a proposed scheme – in this case the Highways Agency – to consult with statutory bodies, local authorities, landowners, neighbouring communities and road users. We have worked closely with local authorities in the area to define how we will undertake consultation with local communities and this is set out in our Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC). In addition to the SoCC, we have published a statutory notice under Section 48 of the Planning Act 2008, in local and national papers to notify the wider public about our consultation on the proposed scheme.
We are now be undertaking public consultation as part of the statutory process set out in the Planning Act 2008. During the consultation exercise which will run until 21 December 2014, we are inviting comments on the scheme proposals. For more information about our proposals and how to take part in the consultation please read our consultation brochure which is available on the publications page.
Why is this happening and what will it cost?
The strategic case for providing additonal capacity on the M4 within Thames Valley was examined in the Thames Valley Multi-Modal Study, which recommended against widening the motorway prior to 2016 in favour of demand management measures. The Secretary of State endorsed these recommendations in 2003.
However the March 2008 'Advanced motorway signalling and traffic management feasibility study' identified this motorway link as a priority for the provision of additional capacity and Ministers agreed that hard shoulder running should be investigated as an alternative to widening.
How will the scheme be carried out?
The smart motorway proposal on the M4 will use the latest technology to improve journeys by monitoring traffic flow and setting speed limits accordingly to keep traffic moving smoothly, instead of continually stopping and starting. The proposal also involves converting the hard shoulder permanently to a traffic lane to create the much needed extra capacity necessary to support economic growth. Information about road conditions and speed limits will be displayed to drivers on electronic road signs.
What are the benefits?
The objectives of the proposed scheme are to:
• Reduce congestion, smooth the flow of traffic to improve journey times, making journeys more reliable
• Support the economy and facilitate economic growth within the region, by providing much needed capacity on the motorway
• Continue to deliver a high level of safety performance on the network using smart
• Minimise environmental impacts of the scheme
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0300 123 5000.
For more information about the proposal and the current public consultation, please read the consultation brochure in the publications section.
You can also contact the project team my emailing: M4J3to12SmartMotorways@highways.gsi.gov.uk
The Highways Agency is proposing to improve a 32 mile length of the M4 motorway between Junction 3 (Hayes) and Junction 12 (Theale) by making it a smart motorway.
M4 Junctions 3 to 12 Smart Motorway . Red Line Drawings for the purpose of scoping - July 2014
M4 Junctions 3-12 Smart Motorway - Planning Inspectorate Introductory Meeting - February 2014
Information from the M4 Junctions 3-12 Smart Motorway Public Exhibition held in March 2014
Public Exhibition poster - March 2014
Appraisal Summary Table
M4 Junctions 3-12 Feedback Report presenting the findings of the initial stakeholder consultation.