M5 Smart Motorway

This contract is part of Highway England’s Smart Motorway Programme (SMP). It calls for the conversion of the section of motorway M5 located between junctions 4a and 6 (about 18 km) from a 3- to a 4-lane configuration by making smart use of the emergency lane as a fourth lane available for traffic. The Smart Motorway, All Lanes Running on M5 from junctions 4a to 6 project, extends over an 18 kilometres stretch and includes the option of converting the emergency lane into a traffic lane, a New Vehicle Restrain System to protect gantries, signs, and structures, the removal of old gantries and installation of new ones, the building of safe stops at 2.5-km intervals, retaining walls and embankments, upgrades to the drainage system, asphalt repaving of the dual 4-lane carriageway, and installation of traffic-management equipment.

BACKGROUND

The M5 is a motorway in the United Kingdom. It starts at Birmingham and connects the cities of Worcester, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Bristol, and Taunton. It ends at Exeter, at the junction with Route A38. The M5 is the main motorway in southwestern England.
The project consisted in turning a 3-lane carriageway into a 4-lane carriageway on the M5, between junctions 4a and 6 southwest of Birmingham. This is the first contract awarded as part of Highway England’s Smart Motorway Programme.
The Programme’s objective is to ease traffic flow by increasing the capacity of existing roads, without resorting to widening schemes, through the smart use of the emergency lane and variable speed limits.
Highways England, the country’s motorways authority, awarded to a joint-venture consisting of VINCI Construction Grands Projets, VINCI Construction UK, and Balfour Beatty, this initial contract designed to transform this section of the M5 into a smart motorway.

TECHNICAL OVERVIEW

The objective of this project is to ease the flow of traffic. The carriageway will be converted from a 3- to a 4-lane configuration thanks to the smart use of the emergency lane. We will install radar equipment to assess traffic flow in real time.
This equipment can transmit information to a control centre that can change speed limits displayed on electronic road signs in efforts to minimise slowdowns. Electronic signs can be used to inform motorists of traffic conditions in real time over vast distances.
The project also enables real-time traffic-management in accordance with traffic conditions. Sensors can send information to a control centre that can change speed limits displayed on electronic road signs.

 

This project marks the launch of smart road construction methods where the use of technology is central.

IMPACT

This initial contract is part of the smart motorway programme being deployed in England. The project is part of Highway England’s Smart Motorway Programme (SMP). It calls for the transformation of a section of motorway M5 between junctions 4A and 6.
Thanks to smart traffic-management and motorway use, thousands of motorists will enjoy more fluid traffic conditions on a daily basis.
Finally, along with the widening of junctions 25 to 28 on the M1 in the United Kingdom, carried out from 2007 to 2010, current construction of the East End Crossing in Indiana in the United States, and current construction of the new coastal route on Reunion Island, this project enables VINCI Construction Grands Projets to develop its recognised expertise in the area of complex and demanding roadworks.

Project participants

Client
Highways England

Project management
Mott Mac Donald – Grontmij

Key figures

Implementation dates
January 2016 to May 2017    

Motorway M11

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