M4 Junctions 3-12: Smart Motorway

Project status:   Planned


Start date:   Post 2015
End date:  Post 2021


Type:   Major Scheme
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Major Scheme

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

Cost:  £614m to £862m


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Highways England 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 monitor traffic flow and vary the mandatory speed limits to keep traffic moving smoothly. The proposed smart motorway scheme will enable proactive management of the M4 carriageway, including slip roads and motorway to motorway intersections between junctions 3 (Hayes) and 12 (Theale) on this major section of motorway.

Consultation

Public Exhibitions were held 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 of the M4.

As part of the statutory process for a Development Consent Order, as set out in the Planning Act 2008, a public consultation exercise took place on the M4 Junctions 3 to 12 Smart Motorway Scheme from 10 November 2014 until 21 December 2014. During the consultation we invited comments on the scheme proposals, the comments received and the regard given to these is set-out in the consultation report, which has now been published on GOV​.UK:

https://​www​.gov​.uk/​g​o​v​e​r​n​m​e​n​t​/​c​o​n​s​u​l​t​a​t​i​o​n​s​/​m​4​-​j​u​n​c​t​i​o​n​-​3​-​t​o​-​1​2​-​s​m​a​r​t​-​m​o​t​o​r​way

The Statutory Instrument consultation regarding the proposed use of variable mandatory speed limits ran for a period of 6 weeks commencing on 12 January 2015 and closing on 22 February 2015. All comments received were carefully considered and the responses are included in the consultation report on:

https://​www​.gov​.uk/​g​o​v​e​r​n​m​e​n​t​/​c​o​n​s​u​l​t​a​t​i​o​n​s​/​m​4​-​j​u​n​c​t​i​o​n​s​-​3​-​t​o​-​1​2​-​s​m​a​r​t​-​m​o​t​o​r​way

Development Consent Order

The Development Consent Order application and supporting documents was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on 30 March 2015 and was accepted for examination on 27 April 2015. Notifications of the acceptance under Section 56 of the Planning Act 2008 were issued on 28 May 2015.

The application documents can be viewed on the Planning Inspectorate’s website:

http://​infrastructure​.planningportal​.gov​.uk/​p​r​o​j​e​c​t​s​/​s​o​u​t​h​-​e​a​s​t​/​m​4​-​j​u​n​c​t​i​o​n​s​-​3​-​t​o​-​1​2​-​s​m​a​r​t​-​m​o​t​o​r​w​a​y​/​?​i​p​c​s​e​c​t​i​o​n​=​o​v​e​r​v​iew

Printed copies of the application are available for inspection until 10 July 2015 free of charge at the following locations during normal opening hours:

  • Uxbridge Library, 13-14 High Street, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 1HD
  • Slough Library, 85 High Street, Slough, SL1 1EA
  • Theale Library, Church Street, Theale, Reading, West Berkshire, RG7 5BZ
  • Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Town Hall, St Ives Road, Maidenhead, SL6 1RF
  • Wokingham Library, Denmark Street, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 2BB
  • Windsor Library, Bachelors Acre, Windsor, SL4 1ER
  • Binfield Library, Benetfeld Road, Binfield, Bracknell, RG42 4JZ
  • Burnham Library, Windsor Lane, Burnham, Buckinghamshire, SL1 7H
  • RIver Parish Council Offices, 63 Chequers Orchard, Iver, Buckinghamshire, SL0 9NJ
  • Eton Wick Library, Village Hall, Eton Wick, Slough, SL4 6LT
  • Cranford Library, Bath Road, Hounslow, Greater London, TW5 9TL
  • South Bucks District Council, Capswood, Oxford Road, Denham, Buckinghamshire, UB9 4LH
  • Chalvey Community Centre, The Green, Chalvey SL1 2SP
  • Reading Central Library, Abbey Square, Reading, RG1 3BQ
  • Datchet Library, Montagu House, 8 Horton Road, Datchet, Slough SL3 9ER

Copies of all the application documents may be purchased using the contact details at the end of this notice. An electronic copy of the full suite of application documents on DVD can be obtained free of charge, and a paper copy can be obtained for a charge of £4,088.00. Postal charges will also apply. Paper copies of individual documents are also available on request and a charge may apply.

Making a representation about the Application

Any representations giving notice of any interest in, or objection to, the application must be made on the Planning Inspectorate's Registration and Relevant Representation Form which can be accessed and completed online by following the instructions within this page:

http://​infrastructure​.planningportal​.gov​.uk/​p​r​o​j​e​c​t​s​/​s​o​u​t​h​-​e​a​s​t​/​m​4​-​j​u​n​c​t​i​o​n​s​-​3​-​t​o​-​1​2​-​s​m​a​r​t​-​m​o​t​o​r​w​ay/

If you would like to request a paper copy of the Planning Inspectorate's Registration and Relevant Representation Form please telephone 0303 444 5000. Completed forms should be sent to: The Planning Inspectorate, National Infrastructure Directorate, Temple Quay House, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6PN. The Planning Inspectorate reference number of the Application (TR010019) should be quoted in any correspondence.

The Planning Inspectorate's Advice Note 8.3: How to register and become an interested party in an application (April 2012) provides further guidance on how to register as an interested party and make a relevant representation on the project, and can be accessed via the following link:

http://​infrastructure​.planningportal​.gov​.uk/​l​e​g​i​s​l​a​t​i​o​n​-​a​n​d​-​a​d​v​i​c​e​/​a​d​v​i​c​e​-​n​o​t​es/

Please note that representations must be received by the Planning Inspectorate by 11:59pm on 3 July 2015. Representations will be made public by the Planning Inspectorate.

What is happening?

Highways England 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 further information.

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 England 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).

On 30th March we submitted our application for a Development Consent Order to the Planning Inspectorate. The Inspectorate, on behalf of the Secretary of State had 28 days to decide whether the application met the required standards to proceed to examination. On 27th April the Inspectorate accepted the application for examination. Further information can be found at http://infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk/projects/South%20East/M4-Junctions-3-to-12-Smart-Motorway/

Why is this happening and what will it cost?

The strategic case for providing additional 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

motorway techniques

• 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 ha_​info@​highways.​gsi.​gov.​uk 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: M4​J3​to1​2​SmartMotorways@​highwaysengland.​co.​uk

Business Case

M4 Junction 3 to 12 Smart Motorway - Consultation Documents
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.

Environment

M4 Junctions 3 to 12 Smart Motorway
M4 Junctions 3 to 12 Smart Motorway . Red Line Drawings for the purpose of scoping - July 2014

Leaflet

M4 Junctions 3-12 Smart Motorway - Planning Inspectorate Introductory Meeting
M4 Junctions 3-12 Smart Motorway - Planning Inspectorate Introductory Meeting - February 2014

Other

M4 Junctions 3-12 Smart Motorway – Public Exhibition Information
Information from the M4 Junctions 3-12 Smart Motorway Public Exhibition held in March 2014

Report

M4 Junctions 3-12 Smart Motorway – Feedback Report
M4 Junctions 3-12 Feedback Report presenting the findings of the initial stakeholder consultation.