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M23 mayhem on the horizon as upgrades set to begin

West Sussex County Council say: “Residents are being advised to allow extra time when travelling in the area and to check for travel updates before they set off on journeys.”

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Works on a two-year upgrade turning a large portion of the M23 into a ‘Smart Motorway’ has had the green light and will begin next week, on Monday (18 June).

When finished, the project will see the motorway expand from three to four lanes. This is said to help ease congestion, provide safer journeys and allow for the introduction of advanced technology to improve traffic flow.

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The £164m upgrade will be carried out across 11 miles (18km) of road between junction 8 at Merstham and junction 10 at Copthorne. During the two-year project the motorway will be subject to narrow lanes with reduced speeds, and will require occasional lane closures and full overnight closures at various times during the construction period. Alternative routes and diversions will be introduced to help ease traffic flow.

But many local residents and regular users of this section of the M23 are not welcoming the disruption and mayhem the construction may bring.

One resident on social media said:

“Two years of roadworks for an eternity of four lanes of people in the wrong lane. Great…”

While another said:

“Smart motorway, just a cheaper and dangerous alternative to introduce a 4th lane. The hard shoulder was there for a reason and that was safety”

West Sussex County Council said:

“The project has been carefully planned to try to minimise the impact for drivers as much as possible.

“However, due to the amount of construction that needs to be carried out, drivers should expect some disruption with minimal delays.

“West Sussex County Council is working closely with Highways England to ensure residents are aware of the work being carried out, and know where to go to find out the latest information.

“Residents are being advised to allow extra time when travelling in the area and to check for travel updates before they set off on journeys.”

Highways England is responsible for the project and has appointed Kier to carry out the construction work, which is due for completion in March 2020.

Highways England said:

“The works will commence at Junction 8 and move south towards Junction 10. We will be initially working in the verge between Junctions 8 and 9. Once the verge works are complete, we will change the arrangement of narrow lanes and commence working in the central reserve. For Junction 9 to 10, we will be starting in the central reserve first and then completing the works on the verge.

“Diversion routes will be clearly signed during full carriageway closures.”

The government agency have said that as a result safety, congestion and journey times are all key issues that need to be improved on the M23. 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 junction 9 of the M23 is the main access for traffic travelling to and from Gatwick Airport, Highways England said this scheme is ‘of particular local and national economic and political importance’.

They also said they have ‘considered the full range of environmental topics’:

“…there will be no long term significant effects. Temporary effects during construction will be slight changes in views, construction noise, disruption to road users and some loss of habitat.”

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Police need your help after six reports of a man touching women inappropriately

Sussex Police are appealing for witnesses after reports of a man acting suspiciously in Crawley.

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Officers have received six reports of a man touching women inappropriately between Monday (December 10) and Thursday (December 13) around the town centre and Tilgate area of Crawley.

The man is described as white, around 6’ 2”, of slim build and he was wearing a dark coloured puffa jacket with a bright coloured pattern on the arms, black jeans and trainers.

Prevention Inspector Pete Dommett said:

“We are asking people to remain vigilant in the Crawley area and to report incidents of this matter to us without delay.

“We are increasing patrols within this area so do stop and talk to us if you have any information.

“Advice and support has been provided to the victims and we encourage any other victims to come forward to us.”

You can report information via email or by calling 101 quoting 1212 of 11/12.

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