Now all four lanes are fully open to traffic with the 70mph national speed limit restored. The motorway had been running at 60mph while safety systems were calibrated.
Drivers will be able to use one of 13 new emergency areas if they need to stop in an emergency, with a place to stop or leave the motorway every 1.27 miles on average.
National Highways will consider retrofitting additional emergency areas on this stretch at a later date.
‘All motorways, with or without a hard shoulder, are designed and operated with drivers centrally in mind, to be easy and straightforward to drive on, and as safe as possible,’ a statement from National Highways said.
‘On motorways where the hard shoulder has been converted to a traffic lane, there is a whole system of inter-related features, working together to help keep traffic moving safely.’
Thee features include variable speed limits to help keep traffic moving, reducing frustrating stop-start traffic and making journeys quicker.
There is also clearly signed and orange-coloured emergency areas set back from the road and with telephones linking directly to control rooms. Detection systems to monitor traffic for changes in flows are in place as is Stopped Vehicle Detection (SVD) technology which can identify a stationary vehicle, typically within 20 seconds.
CCTV cameras allow operators to move and zoom to monitor and manage congestion and incidents, where notified. The system has the ability to see 100 per cent of the carriageway.
Signs and signals to provide information to drivers which can alert them to hazards ahead and Red X signs to close lanes to other traffic when a stopped vehicle is identified will also feature along with enforcement cameras to deter the minority who break speed limits and ignore Red X signs.
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More details on the M27 smart motorway upgrade are available at: