Plans to increase capacity on the M23 near Gatwick Airport, between junction 8 (for Mersham) and junction 10 (for Crawley) has taken a step forward today (Monday June 18) as Highways England gears up for the start of main construction.
The plans involve converting the M23 into a smart motorway, which will help tackle congestion and improve journey times for tens and thousands of drivers that use this motorway each day.
Adrian McCrow, Highways England said: “Upgrading the M23 to a smart motorway will help to tackle congestion and improve journey times for all those drivers who travel this 11 mile stretch of the motorway daily.
“Capacity will be increased by a third with four running lanes and up to date technology will help keep traffic flowing more smoothly and give drivers better information to help with their journeys, while maintaining high levels of safety.
“I would like to thank road users for their cooperation and understanding while we carry out these improvements.”
The M23 is a key strategic road which connects Crawley and Gatwick Airport to the M25 motorway, routes into London and the rest of the UK.
Chris Woodroofe, Chief Operating Officer, Gatwick Airport added: “Around half of Gatwick’s passengers arrive via the M23 and this new smart motorway will quickly deliver up to 30% of extra capacity on a vital eleven mile stretch of motorway to the airport.
“The work is essential for both the growth of Gatwick and the regional economy and will ultimately lead to improved journey times, better reliability and lower emissions as traffic flows more smoothly.
“It is however important that people travelling to Gatwick via the M23 over the next two years allow extra time for their journey and check in advance for motorway closures when planning their journey to the airport.”
During construction, which begins today, a temporary 50mph speed limit will be in place and lanes will be narrowed or closed to allow a safe working place for road workers.
Smart Motorways speed up journey times by converting the hard shoulder to an additional lane with technology and variable speed limits to keep drivers moving safely.
Work which is expected to be complete by spring 2020 will require occasional lane closures and full overnight closures at various times during the construction period and will involve the closure of a carriageway in either direction overnight, between 10pm and 4am, when traffic flows are lowest.
Highways England says that work has been carefully planned to minimise the impact on drivers as much as possible and alternative routes and diversions will be introduced to help ease traffic flow. These will be publicised in advance.
In addition, Highways England has been working closely with Surrey and West Sussex County Councils to ensure residents are aware of the work being carried out, and know where to go to find out the latest information.