Drivers will be able to use an extra lane on the M1 near Wakefield from next month before the new smart motorway goes live a week later.

The long running works designed to ease congestion are nearing completion, and the extra lane will be available from Saturday, December 5th.

A 50mph speed limit will stay in place as Highways England contractors test the technology before the first phase of the system goes live on a 7.5 mile stretch between junction 39 (Denby Dale) and junction 41 (Morley) the following Saturday.

The project will be similar to the smart motorway section of the M62 in West Yorkshire. On the M1, an extra lane will also open on the northbound carriageway between junction 41 and junction 42 (Lofthouse). Work is continuing between the junctions and a 50mph speed limit will remain in place until this phase of the smart motorway scheme goes live in the new year.

The hard shoulder will also be permanently converted into an extra lane between junctions 39 and 42 to provide extra capacity.

By opening this extra lane it will help to reduce congestion during peak times for drivers by providing four lanes to ease the flow of traffic.”