Update on M20 J3-5 Smart Motorway Project

RE: Update on M20 Junctions 3 to 5 Smart Motorway Project: Part of the Kent Corridor Programme

I am writing on behalf of Highways England to update you on the progress of the M20 Junction 3 to 5 smart motorway. The plan is to improve this busy 6.5 mile stretch of the M20 between Junction 3 near West Malling and Junction 5 near Aylesford by upgrading it to an ‘all lane running’ (ALR) smart motorway. The work being undertaken forms part of the commitment we made to improve the Kent Corridor to the M25 (M2 and M20).

Smart motorways reduce congestion and improve journey time reliability by making the hard shoulder available as a traffic lane and use variable speed limits to smooth traffic flow. They also add much needed capacity to some of the most congested parts of our network and support economic growth.

This work is being carried out by Kier on behalf of Highways England.

When will traffic management begin?

Installation of CCTV to monitor the 50mph speed limit during the road works began in late May.

On Monday 25 June we will start to install 3 narrow lanes on the eastbound carriage way between J3 and 5.  On Monday 2 July we will start to install the same on the westbound carriageway.  

We use narrow lanes so that we can keep the same number of lanes open when we carry out improvement work, while also allowing additional space at the side of the motorway to provide a safer working environment for our road workers. The speed limit will be reduced to 50mph for the duration of the works. We expect to complete the work by March 2020.       

Will you be closing the M20 to undertake this work?

Lane closures and full closures overnight will be necessary during construction. Full closures will take place as follows:

·                    10pm to 6am when working on the eastbound carriageway

·                    8pm to 6am when working on the westbound carriageway

There will be clearly signed diversions routes in place. All closures will be subject to change and weather dependent.

Current dates for full closures in the coming weeks are as follows:




Diversion Route

Mon 18 pm – Sat 23 June am

10pm – 6am

Overnight Closures x5 Nights M26 Eastbound J2a to M20

A20→ A228→M20

Mon 25 pm – Thurs 28 June am

10pm – 6am

Overnight Closure x 3 Nights M20 Eastbound J2-J4 & M26 J2a to M20

A20→A228 → M20

Thurs 28 June pm – Saturday 30 June am

10pm – 6am

Overnight Closure x 2 Nights M20 Eastbound J4–J6


Mon 2 July pm – 5 July am

8pm – 6am

Overnight Closure x 3 Nights M20 Westbound J6–J4


Weds 5 July pm – Sun 8 July am

8pm – 6am

Overnight Closure x 4 Nights

M20 Westbound J4–J2



All future closure information will be advertised on the Highways England project webpage https://highwaysengland.co.uk/projects/m20-junctions-3-to-5-smart-motorway/and Traffic England http://www.trafficengland.com/   throughout the project.

What will the construction work involve?

White line removal: 18 June to 6 July: starting at J2 working eastbound, then J6 working westbound.

One of our first jobs will be to prepare the motorway for the narrow lanes that will be starting from 25 June.  This involves removing the white lines and repairing damaged joints in the carriageway surface.  This work will be undertaken at night and will create some noise as we pass along the carriageway. We will do everything we can to minimise noise, but some noise is inevitable.

Works in the motorway verge: July 2018 to March 2019

Construction will start in the motorway verge.  This will include: replacing drainage pipes, installing new lighting in parts of the scheme and cabling, building emergency refuge areas, installing new noise barriers, installing new gantries and taking down obsolete ones and resurfacing lane 1 between junctions 3 and 5.

Works in the central reserve: March 2019 to December 2019

When the work in the verge is complete, we will move to the central reserve where work will include: removing the metal fencing and replacing this with a solid concrete barrier and resurfacing lane 4 between junctions 3 and 5.

How long will the works take?

Full construction work is planned to start during the week of 9 July 2018. The scheme is expected to be completed by March 2020.

Please note, all dates are subject to change depending on weather and other factors.

How will this project benefit journeys?

On completion, the M20 between junctions 3 West Malling and 5 Aylesford will provide four running lanes, increasing capacity, improving journey time reliability and reducing congestion by smoothing traffic flows using variable speed limits.

What is the Kent Corridor Programme?

The work being undertaken on the M20 Junction 3-5 forms part of the commitment we made to improve the Kent Corridor to the M25 (M2 and M20.) Other projects include: A2 Bean and Ebbsfleet, M2 junction 5, M20 junction 10a and an alternative to Operation Stack. In addition, a new Lower Thames Crossing is planned to increase capacity on the network and relive the congestion at the Dartford Crossing.

Our planning is well underway to coordinate this work.  The Kent Corridor Programme, which is supported by the Kent Corridor Coordination Group (KCCG), has been set up specifically to work collaborative during this period of change. Members of the Group include Highways England, their delivery partners and Local Authority officers from Kent County Council and Medway Council on the A2 and M20 routes.

Please feel free to share this information in the letter with anyone else in your organisation who would find it useful.

If you have any questions about the project, please contact the team at

M20.J3-5Smart@highwaysengland.co.uk alternatively you can write to Highways England at the address above.

You can also find further information about the smart motorway project on our website at http://highwaysengland.co.uk/projects/m20-junctions-3-to-5-smart-motorway/  where you can sign up for updates.