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Midlands M1 faces £800M widening programme

A 67KM, £800M widening programme for the M1 in the Midlands is expected to be recommended when the latest government multi modal transport study is published next month.

The North/South Movements on the M1 Corridor in the East Midlands is expected to recommend that 20km of the M1 should be widened to five lanes in each direction between junctions 25 and 27.

Other sections will be widened to four lanes and outer lanes created for short distance traffic.

Motorway improvements are also expected to include widening a 21km section between junctions 21A and 23A near Leicester to four lanes and 26km between junctions 27 and 30 near Sheffield.

'Traffic forecasts for 2021 indicate up to a 40% increase on current levels, ' says the report on public consultation for the study prepared by consultant WS Atkins. Final consultation on the study ended last week.

'A 10 lane motorway would be needed to accommodate this level of flow in a safe manner, ' says the draft document.

The report is likely to recommend further study into tolling the M1 after 2021, which was supported by 60% of respondents. This would be in line with recommendations for tolling the M6 (News last week).

But the report warns that tolling would clog the surrounding road network unless other strategic roads were tolled too.

'Testing indicated that a substantial proportion of traffic would divert off the motorway, mostly onto the rest of the road network, ' says the report.

'This would result in a very significant increase in traffic congestion on the wider road network and a substantial increase in road traffic accidents.'

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