M4 Junction 3 to 12 Smart Motorway

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A303Chris
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Re: M4 Junction 3 to 12 Smart Motorway

Post by A303Chris » Tue Nov 30, 2021 14:14

A lot of work has happened over the last few weeks and signage and lining is up between J4b and J12, and it is disappointing.

Apart from Junction 7, Huntercombe , all junctions have lane drops totally different to the original proposals presented in the Infrastructures Commission Inquiry back in 2015/16 which showed lane drops at the ends and at J10 and J4b only.

The signing for J5 Eastbound is funny, it has lane one for A4 Langley/Eton, Lane 2 for M25 in 1 &1/2 miles and lanes 3 and 4 for London/Heathrow. This always bottled up here over the junction with three lanes, so its no improvement. After J5, lane one is a lane gain and as soon as it passes under Sutton Lane bridge it becomes 5 lanes, with 1 and 2 going on the M25.

So same situation as now with weaving, but no improvement.

My partner lives just off J12 , Tilehurst, I live in Woodley just off J10, and using the M4 is quicker than plodding through Reading. This section has been operating fully open albeit with a 60mph since mid October, and you might as well just repaint the hard shoulder removing it a mile before the junctions as lane one is not used.

Last week at 10.30pm I drove all the way in lane 1 expect moving out to go through J11 and undertook 14 vehicles. The same is happening for J10 to J8/9, lane one is not being used.

I can not understand why the M4, M3 and M23 all have lane drops while M1 and M6 do not.

It seems 3 and half years of disruption for no gain at all, we have created a motorway with a load of M25 j11 bottlenecks.
The M25 - The road to nowhere

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ChrisH
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Re: M4 Junction 3 to 12 Smart Motorway

Post by ChrisH » Tue Nov 30, 2021 16:25

A303Chris wrote:
Tue Nov 30, 2021 14:14
A lot of work has happened over the last few weeks and signage and lining is up between J4b and J12, and it is disappointing.
...
It seems 3 and half years of disruption for no gain at all, we have created a motorway with a load of M25 j11 bottlenecks.
Exactly right. This is a scheme which has cost an almost unimaginable £800m and will have taken nearly four years to accomplish frustratingly marginal benefits for drivers.

The lane discipline of drivers on the completed section J8-12 is just as bad as it is on the M3, M25 and M40 with four-lane sections. By putting lane drops in at every junction it just gives people the impression that lane 1 is only for exiting and not for driving.

The street lighting has also been removed west of Slough which is an additional safety disbenefit when there is no hard shoulder to pull onto. At night on these unlit "smart" motorways even I avoid lane 1 because of limited visibility.

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Re: M4 Junction 3 to 12 Smart Motorway

Post by Micro The Maniac » Tue Nov 30, 2021 16:58

Yesterday, I drove the M4 from the M25 to Port Abraham Services (where the M4 ends) - I only needed to go to Port Talbot but I'd never previously done the last bit so took my chance...

Frankly the J4B-J12 "improvements" are a missed opportunity - OK we now have the concrete central reservation, but the rest? Bleugh!

J11 (for the A33) looks like an even bigger mess than before... and while I'm a fan of lane drops where appropriate, I'm puzzled why some junctions (especially the Slough/A4 junctions) needed them. I sense the VMS will be showing "Use Lane 1 unless overtaking" much of the time...

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A303Chris
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Re: M4 Junction 3 to 12 Smart Motorway

Post by A303Chris » Tue Nov 30, 2021 17:05

ChrisH wrote:
Tue Nov 30, 2021 16:25
The street lighting has also been removed west of Slough which is an additional safety disbenefit when there is no hard shoulder to pull onto. At night on these unlit "smart" motorways even I avoid lane 1 because of limited visibility.
Street lighting has only been removed J7 to J8/9, so just three mile less. You can see the barrier narrows just after J7, but the wider barrier has the bolt holders for the lamps in place as per the ones installed between J3 and J4b, but it seems penny pinching to remove the lights fro J7 to J8/9 and around Reading between J10 and J12.

The J10 lighting is a joke the slip roads have them, but the merges and two through route do not !!!!!!
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A303Chris
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Re: M4 Junction 3 to 12 Smart Motorway

Post by A303Chris » Tue Nov 30, 2021 17:08

Micro The Maniac wrote:
Tue Nov 30, 2021 16:58
Yesterday, I drove the M4 from the M25 to Port Abraham Services (where the M4 ends) - I only needed to go to Port Talbot but I'd never previously done the last bit so took my chance...

Frankly the J4B-J12 "improvements" are a missed opportunity - OK we now have the concrete central reservation, but the rest? Bleugh!

J11 (for the A33) looks like an even bigger mess than before... and while I'm a fan of lane drops where appropriate, I'm puzzled why some junctions (especially the Slough/A4 junctions) needed them. I sense the VMS will be showing "Use Lane 1 unless overtaking" much of the time...
J11 does look a mess, while as you say given the close proximity of the junctions from J8/9 all the way to J3, drivers are just not going to use lane one as soon as move in you will have to move out again within a short distance.

It is a huge missed opportunity.
The M25 - The road to nowhere

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Re: M4 Junction 3 to 12 Smart Motorway

Post by Chris5156 » Tue Nov 30, 2021 21:48

ChrisH wrote:
Tue Nov 30, 2021 16:25
A303Chris wrote:
Tue Nov 30, 2021 14:14
A lot of work has happened over the last few weeks and signage and lining is up between J4b and J12, and it is disappointing.
...
It seems 3 and half years of disruption for no gain at all, we have created a motorway with a load of M25 j11 bottlenecks.
Exactly right. This is a scheme which has cost an almost unimaginable £800m and will have taken nearly four years to accomplish frustratingly marginal benefits for drivers.

The lane discipline of drivers on the completed section J8-12 is just as bad as it is on the M3, M25 and M40 with four-lane sections. By putting lane drops in at every junction it just gives people the impression that lane 1 is only for exiting and not for driving.
Agreed on all points. I thought the lesson had been learned, from the early M25 widening projects, that providing an extra lane between junctions and not through them delivered decidedly shaky benefits and that the extra lane was badly under-used as a result. But then - at the risk of having a whinge - NH don't have a very long view of history; they seem to be under the impression that they invented contraflows about three years ago so anything that was learned 30 years ago is possibly something they have to find out for themselves all over again!

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Re: M4 Junction 3 to 12 Smart Motorway

Post by Bryn666 » Wed Dec 01, 2021 11:40

Chris5156 wrote:
Tue Nov 30, 2021 21:48
ChrisH wrote:
Tue Nov 30, 2021 16:25
A303Chris wrote:
Tue Nov 30, 2021 14:14
A lot of work has happened over the last few weeks and signage and lining is up between J4b and J12, and it is disappointing.
...
It seems 3 and half years of disruption for no gain at all, we have created a motorway with a load of M25 j11 bottlenecks.
Exactly right. This is a scheme which has cost an almost unimaginable £800m and will have taken nearly four years to accomplish frustratingly marginal benefits for drivers.

The lane discipline of drivers on the completed section J8-12 is just as bad as it is on the M3, M25 and M40 with four-lane sections. By putting lane drops in at every junction it just gives people the impression that lane 1 is only for exiting and not for driving.
Agreed on all points. I thought the lesson had been learned, from the early M25 widening projects, that providing an extra lane between junctions and not through them delivered decidedly shaky benefits and that the extra lane was badly under-used as a result. But then - at the risk of having a whinge - NH don't have a very long view of history; they seem to be under the impression that they invented contraflows about three years ago so anything that was learned 30 years ago is possibly something they have to find out for themselves all over again!
It really screams that once again the smart motorway consultants have no idea what they're doing but must have a generous fee proposal every time as they keep winning despite the quality being dire on every single one of these jobs post 2010.
Bryn
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Re: M4 Junction 3 to 12 Smart Motorway

Post by Truvelo » Wed Dec 01, 2021 12:34

And what I also witness are drivers moving over to lane 2 on the approach to junctions where there is no lane drop in the belief there is one.
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DavidB
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Re: M4 Junction 3 to 12 Smart Motorway

Post by DavidB » Thu Dec 09, 2021 16:25

Tweet just now from Paul Clifton of BBC South Today:

https://twitter.com/PaulCliftonBBC/stat ... 0093417479
The M4 smart motorway through Berkshire has fully opened today between Junction 8/9 and Junction 12. Without warning or fanfare: a reflection of the opposition to it. Previously there was a 60mph limit.

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A303Chris
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Re: M4 Junction 3 to 12 Smart Motorway

Post by A303Chris » Fri Dec 17, 2021 14:23

DavidB wrote:
Thu Dec 09, 2021 16:25
Tweet just now from Paul Clifton of BBC South Today:

https://twitter.com/PaulCliftonBBC/stat ... 0093417479
The M4 smart motorway through Berkshire has fully opened today between Junction 8/9 and Junction 12. Without warning or fanfare: a reflection of the opposition to it. Previously there was a 60mph limit.
Drove through last evening and can confirm J8/9 to J12 is now at NSL.

However on the return journey J10 to j11 was closed in both directions, indicating that work still needs to be completed.
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Re: M4 Junction 3 to 12 Smart Motorway

Post by brummie_rob » Fri Dec 17, 2021 21:30

The work last night from J10-J11 was just powerlines above the motorway, nothing to do with 'smart' works!

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