M25 Widening Scheme

The Highways Agency is constantly upgrading motorway infrastructure, but completion of the recent M25 Widening project established some new benchmarks.

The M25 is one of the busiest and most congested parts of the motorway network and plans were laid down for improvements to the North West quadrant of the London orbital motorway to ease traffic flow from Heathrow to the east of London ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games in July, so on-time delivery was critical.

The project objectives

The main objectives of the scheme were to deliver:

  • Improved journey time reliability
  • Improved safety on the motorway
  • Reduced congestion
  • Improved driver information
  • Low noise surfacing.

This was to be achieved by widening the motorway from 3 to 4 lanes in both directions, with a hard shoulder between junctions 16 and 23 and junctions 27 and 30.

The scheme was included in a DBFO (Design, Build, Finance and Operate) contract awarded by the Highways Agency to the Connect Plus consortium who appointed Skanska Balfour Beatty Joint Venture (SBBJV) as contractor for the widening works.

Following a rigorous commercial and technical tendering process Variable Message Signs Limited (VMSL) was selected as a Technology Partner by Connect Plus at the commencement of the project. A successful track record of working with SBBJV on past projects, backed up by extensive experience of designing, manufacturing, installing and providing through-life support for a range of strategic and urban LED sign and signal products, helped to establish VMSL’s credibility to deliver a project of this scale.

The Highways Agency Eastern Regional Control Centre in full operation including the new M25 Technology Systems.

For sections 1 and 4 of the M25 scheme, VMS manufactured and installed:

  • AMI enforcement and non-enforcement - 730 units
  • MS 2x12 - 143 units
  • Roadside Controllers - 311 units
  • CMU enforcement and non-enforcement - 163 units
  • Ambient Light Monitor - 53 units
  • Cables all types - 1,021

The outcome

As an on-going practice, the technology teams fine-tuned their processes to ensure an on-time delivery. Their endeavours paid off dramatically when three weeks after the widened sections of motorway were opened to the public, all Traffic Technology Certificates were issued – a remarkable achievement which typically takes six to nine months on similar projects.

David Blackburn, Managing Director of SBBJV (Skanska Balfour Beatty Joint Venture ) commented, “The performance achieved by the Technology Team on the M25 DBFO has set a new benchmark for the industry in terms of the execution of technology installation, commissioning and handover, which is way beyond anything that has ever been delivered before.”

VMS recently completed its part in the Hatfield Tunnel refurbishment, another scheme with SBBJV, which involved the manufacture and installation of 36 Low Profile Tunnel Matrix Signs (LPTMS) and 6 Portal Mounted Tunnel Matrix Signs.

Variable Message Signs

Monkton Business Park, Mill Lane, Hebburn, Tyne and Wear, NE31 2JZ, UK. Tel: +44 (0)191 423 7070
Griffin Lane, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP19 8BP, UK. Tel: +44 (0)1296 673000

Hill & Smith Ltd trading as Variable Message Signs |  Registered in England No: 01270322 | Registered office: Westhaven House, Arleston Way, Shirley, Solihull, West Midlands, B90 4LH