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Get ready for 2 years of traffic problems as M23 improvements start

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You may not have realised or even noticed but messages have been sent out by the Highways England for the last few months about the pending improvements they intend to begin work on for the M23.

Whilst most improvements are welcomed it is no comfort for the thousands of drivers who use the section of the motorway between Crawley and the M25.

Small repairs and improvements over the past few years have seen traffic jams become a regular occurrence which  means with almost 2 years of work about to begin, travelling on the M23 is about to become even more of a chore.

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Highways England say they will be:

Upgrading the 11 mile (18km) stretch of the M23 near Gatwick Airport, between junction 8 near Merstham and junction 10 at Copthorne, to an all-lane running smart motorway.

They also state that the reasons for the improvement include, Safety, Congestion and Journey times.

They also say:

The M23 is a crucial part of the UK strategic road network connecting Crawley and Gatwick Airport to the M25 motorway, routes into London and the rest of the UK. This stretch of the M23 is heavily used by traffic travelling to and from Gatwick Airport and between Brighton and London, especially during UK holiday periods. As a result safety, congestion and journey times are all key issues that need to be improved. As junction 9 of the M23 is the main access for traffic travelling to and from Gatwick Airport, this scheme is of particular local and national economic and political importance.

The aim is to convert this stretch of the motorway into a smart motorway.  This includes converting the hard shoulder into a permanent lane with emergency refuge areas and additional traffic monitoring to ensure problems are dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Seven key changes are:

  • four permanent running lanes in each direction, created by conversion of the hard shoulder
  • redefined junction layouts to accommodate the extra lane
  • 16 new gantries to carry the new variable message signs
  • 12 new emergency refuge areas
  • a hardened central reserve with a new rigid concrete barrier
  • new noise barriers where identified by environmental assessment
  • work to maintain access to the motorway from Weatherhill Depot and for traffic officers

So be prepared for narrow lanes, temporary safety barriers and plenty of speed restrictions.

There will also be temporary closures at night.

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Council have plans in place for ‘Beast from the East’

Salting operations are to continue throughout the period; snow ploughs will be fitted when required to ensure main roads are kept open.

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Yellow warnings for snow in Crawley have been issued by the Met Office until Wednesday. Photo: MetOffice

Snowfall will be effecting most of the country over the forthcoming week and the Met Office have issued yellow weather warnings for snow as well as amber warnings for some areas.

Following these warnings, West Sussex County Council have said they have plans in place to keep main roads open.

A West Sussex Highways spokesman said:

“Precautionary salting operations will continue throughout the period and snow ploughs will be fitted when required to ensure main roads are kept open.

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“We are therefore advising Town and Parish Councils to be prepared to enact their Winter Management Plans IF and when we issue an instruction to do so.”

A further update will be issued later today.

The County Council’s winter campaign website page has several sections giving advice on ‘staying warm’ please click here.

If you know or look after someone who may be susceptible to the effects of this cold weather period, please help ensure they stay warm and well and check in advance that they are prepared for this cold spell.

WSCC have offered some general advice including:

• Stay tuned in to weather forecasts.
• Check and maintain daytime room temperatures of 21°C.
• Check bedroom night-time temperatures and maintain it at 18°C or warmer.
• Keep warm and active and, if you have to go out, dress warmly and wear non-slip shoes.
• If you are concerned about your own health or welfare, or that of others, please alert the emergency services – details: emergency services.

Keep up to date with all the latest news.

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