Plans to increase capacity on the M23 by up to 30 per cent have been announced.
Highways England (HE) will make the ten-mile stretch between Junction 10 (Crawley) and Junction 8 (Leatherhead) a ‘smart motorway’.
Its hard shoulder would become a fourth traffic lane with a variable speed limit. Signage and ‘pioneering’ technology would respond to traffic conditions and provide live information on incidents up ahead.
A spokesman for Gatwick Airport said the scheme would ‘future proof’ it for a second runway at the airport. Alastair McDermin said: “This project will improve the reliability of road journeys to Gatwick by easing congestion and improving traffic flows to the airport and is essential for the continued growth in the region.
“Gatwick will be road and rail ready for a second runway by 2021 with no additional cost to the taxpayer. In contrast, Heathrow expansion requires billions of public money - a real challenge when vital Government departments have to find cuts of up to 40 per cent.”
The spokesman said more than half of Gatwick’s passengers arrived at the airport via the M23.
The M23 plan would tie in with a £120.5m upgrade of Gatwick Airport train station.
Highways England is delivering 292 extra lane miles of smart motorway schemes across the country between now and 2021. It has announced Carillion and Kier will carry out the works, which were expected to start in 2017/18. Jacobs and Atkins will design it. The first smart motorway was introduced on part of the M42 around Birmingham in 2006. Accidents have more than halved, journey time reliability improved by more than a fifth and emissions fallen by a tenth due to smoother traffic flow.
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