M23 road works - what is a ‘smart motorway’?

The M23
The M23

Work is continuing to turn part of the M23 around Gatwick into a ‘smart motorway’.

But what is a smart motorway?

A smart motorway uses technology to manage the flow of traffic.

This is controlled from a regional traffic control centre which monitors traffic and can activate and change signs and speed limits.

This helps keep the traffic flowing freely.

Smart motorways increase the capacity of the road, without the expense of widening the road, by either temporarily or permanently opening the hard shoulder to traffic.

A Highways England spokesman said: “The M23 is a crucial part of the UK strategic road network connecting Crawley and Gatwick Airport to the M25 motorway, routes into London and the rest of the UK.

“This stretch of the M23 is heavily used by traffic travelling to and from Gatwick Airport and between Brighton and London, especially during UK holiday periods.

“As a result safety, congestion and journey times are all key issues that need to be improved.

“As junction 9 of the M23 is the main access for traffic travelling to and from Gatwick Airport, this scheme is of particular local and national economic and political importance.”

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The scheme will:

* Convert the hard shoulder to create a permanent fourth lane between junctions 8 and 10

* Convert the westbound hard shoulder along the road to Gatwick Airport - towards Junction 9a - to create three permanent lanes

* Create a dedicated northbound slip road before Junction 9 to minimise congestion as traffic leaves the motorway and heads towards Gatwick airport

* Install new electronic information signs, signals and CCTV cameras - these will be used to vary speed limits and manage traffic flow and incidents

* Create 12 emergency areas to use in place of the hard shoulder

* Improve the central reserve and add a reinforced barrier to improve safety

* Build New noise barriers in built up areas