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M20 Junction 3 to Junction 5

Services: Planning & Controls

Value: 90 Million

Sector: Highways

The M20 Junctions 3 to 5 forms part of a principal route that provides key links via Dover and Folkstone ports and Channel Tunnel to and from mainland Europe. As such, it facilitates national, regional and local travel, and regeneration and growth. Furthermore, the route provides critical access via the M26/M25 to London, the airports of Heathrow and Gatwick and to the wider South-East, South-West and the Midlands.

The M20 between Junctions 2 and 3 has the lowest journey time reliability measurement of 65.9%. With forecast annual traffic growth of 4.17% in cars and 2.79% in HGVs, the time reliability measurement is going to get worse if Do Nothing is the option to address this issue. Introducing a smart motorway between Junctions 3 and 5 is identified as the most economic and efficient solution to reduce congestion, add capacity whilst ensuring the safe operations of the motorway. There will be utilisation of up-to-date technology to smooth traffic flow and enhance journey time reliability.


The aims of this scheme are to improve:

  • safety
  • congestion
  • journey times

The scheme in detail

The M20 J3-5 Smart Motorway scheme will add further road space by converting the hard shoulder to a permanent running lane with additional traffic monitoring, Emergency Refuge Areas (ERAs) and variable speed message signs. The work will include:

  • four permanent running lanes in each direction for the majority of the scheme, created by conversion of the hard shoulder
  • redefined junction layouts to accommodate lane gain and lane drop
  • new and refurbished gantries with variable message signs and 10 refurbished message signs
  • 5 new Emergency Refuge Areas and installation of new Emergency Roadside Telephones (SOS) and CCTV cameras to improve emergency service response times
  • a hardened central reserve with a new rigid concrete barrier
  • replacement of the Teapot Lane Footbridge deck at Aylesford to accommodate the hardshoulder conversion to a running lane
  • replacing existing noise barriers in built-up areas and installing new barriers where necessary


During the construction phase of the scheme, roadworks will be needed along this section of the M20 between junctions 3 and 5. It is anticipated that narrow lanes traffic management, temporary concrete safety barriers and speed restrictions will be put in place. In addition, junction layouts may be temporarily altered to allow for resurfacing and improvement.

There will be temporary closures of the carriageways at night on some occasions. In these instances, all updates and diversions will be clearly available and published in the appropriate section of the scheme’s webpage. Clearly signed diversions will be put in place where the work is being carried out.

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