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Work to install new traffic management system to begin on M1

Work begins on the installation of a new system of active traffic management on the M1 on February 4. When complete, a system of lights on slip roads - known as light metering - will regulate vehicles joining the motorway.

The lights will be installed on the northbound entry slip roads at Junctions 24, 28 and 29 and the southbound entry slip roads at junction 25 and 29, and will be ready to go live in the spring.

According to the Highways Agency, congestion occurs near junctions where vehicles attempt to join from the slip road when there is already heavy traffic on the motorway.

By releasing just a few vehicles at a time, the lights ought to prevent the merging traffic bunching-up and creating a bottleneck.

Highways Agency project manager Jack Warner said: "The system will allow traffic to join the motorway more smoothly and safely.

"We have seen the system work well where it has already been implemented on other parts of the motorway network.

"Motorists joining the motorway may have a few seconds delay at the slip road lights, but there will be an overall benefit for all motorway users."

Sensors in the road monitor any congestion and adjust the timing of the lights. Traffic on the slip road is also monitored to minimise the possibility of queues forming on the local road network.

The system has been successfully used on motorways in parts of the Midlands and the North where it has been shown to reduce congestion and improve journey times on the motorway by up to nine per cent. It is also widely used in the United States, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Ramp metering is part of an £18 million project which will see up to 70 sites introduced between 2007-2009. The East Midlands scheme is costing £1 million.

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