10:34AM, Wednesday 25 May 2022
National Highways has confirmed it is expecting to open the final stretch of its M4 smart motorways scheme in the summer.
Work has been ongoing since 2018 to replace the hard shoulder with a live traffic line between Junction 3 (Hayes/Harlington) and Junction 12 (Theale).
The 17-mile section between Junction 8/9 (Maidenhead) and Junction 12 (Theale) opened with smart motorway technology in December but the rest of the project is yet to be completed.
National Highways had originally been aiming to finish the whole £848million scheme in spring 2022 but it said it now plans to begin a phased opening between Junction 3 and Junction 8/9 in the summer.
All lanes will open at 60mph and this will be increased to 70mph once the technology is performing to an acceptable level.
A spokesman for National Highways said: “This will be the final section of the major motorway upgrade to open, and we are looking forward to real improvements it will bring to more than 130,000 journeys every day.
“All motorways, with or without a hard shoulder, are designed and operated with drivers centrally in mind, to be easy and straightforward to drive on.”
All lines are currently blocked between Reading and London Paddington stations due to a person being hit by a train.