M5 motorway exit sign, junction 5

M5 National Emergency Area Retrofit

National Emergency Area Retrofit – work to start on the M1 and M5 in the next few weeks.

National Highways is delivering a government commitment to add more than 150 more emergency areas to motorways across the country.

Several sections of the M1 and M5 are being upgraded. The programme of work will start from 2 April 2024, and is expected to be complete by March 2025.

Work to build additional emergency areas is already underway on the M1 between junctions 32 to 35a in South Yorkshire and junctions 30 to 31 in Derbyshire, and on the M6 junctions 21a to 26 in Cheshire.

In the Midlands over the coming months work will also start on:

  • M1 between junctions 23A and 25 in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, due to start 10 April 2024.
  • M1 between junctions 28 and 30 in Derbyshire, due to start 10 April 2024.
  • M5 between junctions 4A and 6 in Worcestershire, due to start 18 April 2024.
  • M1 between junctions 16 and 19 in Northamptonshire, due to start 7 May 2024.

Dates are subject to change so keep checking information about the upgrade and the roadworks at www.nationalhighways.co.uk/emergency-areas.

National Highways aim to work as efficiently as possible and keep disruption to a minimum, also coordinating with other road upgrade projects being delivered in the area. They are in close contact with local authorities and nearby projects through a coordinated and collaborative approach to minimise the impact of roadworks as far as practicable across this busy section of the motorway network.

To carry out the work safely, lane one (left lane), in sections, on the motorways listed will be closed throughout construction. Lanes two, three and four will remain open with a 50mph speed limit in place.

The traffic management for the working areas will be installed overnight when the traffic flows are quieter. National Highways doe their best to minimise disruption and apologise in advance for any inconvenience these works may cause.

Existing emergency areas through roadworks will remain open wherever possible. At limited locations where it is necessary to temporarily close an emergency area, an alternative emergency area will be provided nearby and clearly signed.

The new emergency area work will mainly be carried out Mondays to Fridays from 7am to 7pm. There will be occasions when lanes, slip roads or the carriageway between junctions will be closed for deliveries to the work sites and throughout construction, but this will be overnight and at weekend when traffic flows are at their lowest. Should there be a need to close overnight there will be clearly signed diversion routes in place.

Please do plan your journeys and check before you travel via: Road closure report – National Highways.

Emergency areas provide a place to stop in an emergency if drivers cannot exit the motorway or stop at a motorway service area. They are clearly signed at regular intervals along the motorway and have bright orange road surfaces to help identify them. At 100 metres long, they have plenty of space for even the largest lorry plus a recovery vehicle and they are equipped with emergency telephones linking directly to our control rooms to get help on the way quickly.

You can find out more about what to do if your vehicle breaks down on the motorway here: https://nationalhighways.co.uk/road-safety/breakdowns

You can visit Driving on the motorways – National Highways for more details on what to do in the event of an emergency, and how to use an emergency area.

This investment in extra emergency areas, along with technology like stopped vehicle detection, more signs, and clear advice about all lane running motorways online and in an updated Highway Code, will help road users feel safe and be safer on our roads.

Through all the work National Highways are doing they are determined to further improve public confidence in driving on the motorways, and to continue to build and operate one of the safest and best performing road networks in the world.

For more information you can follow National Highways @HighwaysEMIDS and https://www.facebook.com/HighwaysEMids/