Children Robert Miles
9 January 2013, 06:00
Work starting on an emergency gate on the M4 on the Berkshire/Wiltshire border, which can be used to release traffic should the road be closed after an incident.
The gate, which will be installed in the central reservation of the motorway between junctions 14 and 15 between Newbury and Swindon, can be opened by the Highways Agency or the emergency services to allow drivers stuck behind the scene of a crash to turn around onto the opposite carriageway.
Work is expected to be complete by the end of the month. Highways Agency project manager Rob MacKenzie said: "The distance between junctions 14 and 15 is around 12 miles, which means that - if an incident closes the road - a lot of drivers can become stuck on the motorway. This gate will allow the Highways Agency and emergency services to direct these drivers on to the opposite carriageway, where they can return to the previous junction and pick up the diversion route.
"This is part of our commitment to making sure that the M4, which is a vital national artery, is as resilient as possible."
From Wednesday, the hard shoulder on the eastbound M4 will be closed while work gets underway. Then, from Monday 14 January, there will be narrow lanes and a 50mph speed limit on a 1.6 mile section of the road in both directions past the work site, which is just to the east of junction 15.