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Motorway Capacity

Volume 86: debated on Thursday 14 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he is satisfied with the carrying capacity of the M1; and if he will make a statement.

The carrying capacity of M1 is presently under review. Generally, the motorway meets current traffic demand except for some peak-hour capacity problems at certain junctions on the southern sections of the M1.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the cost of adding an additional lane to the M1 in each direction southbound from its junction with the M6; and if he will make a statement.

It is not possible to give a precise answer as there are many unknown factors affecting cost, such as the provision of structures and the diversion of statutory undertakers' apparatus.However, the basic cost per kilometre for adding one lane in each direction would be likely to be of the order of £1·5 million to £2 million. The figure would be much higher for those stretches where retaining walls were needed.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to increase the capacity of the M1 southwards from its junction with the M6; and if he will make a statement.

The Department's forward road programme contains no proposals for further widening of this section of M1. However, the carrying capacity of M1 is currently under review.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what was the design capacity of each stretch of the M1 on opening; and what is the current peak load currently carried on each of these stretches.

My hon. Friend will know that much of the M1 motorway was constructed during the early 1960s. Design standards have changed over the years and, because of this, it would be misleading to quote design capacity on opening. The current design capacity level for a dual 3-lane motorway is up to 85,000 vehicles per day and for a dual 4-lane motorway up to 115,000 vehicles per day.The current annual average daily flow of traffic on the M1 between various junctions is as follows:

Vehicles per day (two way)
Junctions 1–460–70,000
4–770–80,000
7–1087–120,000
10–1370–80,000
13–1560–70,000
15–1950–55,000
19–2425–40,000
24–2835–40,000
28–3045–50,000
30–3537–47,000
35–3928–37,000
39–4335–47,000
Peak traffic flows inevitably vary from junction to junction. As a general guide however around 10 per cent. of daily traffic flow occurs during peak hours.