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South West gets its first Smart Motorway

The South West’s first ‘smart’ motorway scheme (formerly referred to as a managed motorway) has been officially launched today by roads minister Robert Goodwill.

Covering seven miles of motorway around the Almondsbury Interchange, including junctions 19-20 on the M4 and junctions 15-17 on the M5, its aim is to reduce congestion and improve safety and journey times by introducing variable speed limits and opening the hard shoulder during busy traffic periods.

Goodwill said: “Every day, more than 140,000 vehicles use this section of motorway, which is an essential gateway to the South West. That is why the government has invested almost £90m to help improve access and traffic flow on this vital route.

“This is the first smart motorway in the region and I’m delighted that road users and businesses will be able to benefit from the improvements earlier than planned.”

Last November, Commercialmotor.com reported that the Highways Agency was planning a multi-million pound project to bring smart motorways to the North West.

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