Motorway lanes could be closed along a 10-mile stretch of the M4 south of Reading from May 7, a letter seen by Bracknell News suggests.

The government’s National Highways agency is planning to install emergency areas along the M4 as part of plans to make ‘smart motorways’ safer.

A letter to local ‘stakeholders’ from National Highways project sponsor Felicity Clayton said work could take place between junction 10 at Wokingham and junction 12 at Theale from May 7. However a National Highways spokesperson was unable to confirm this to the News.

The letter, sent to stakeholders on Thursday, April 11, said: “We are delivering a government commitment to add more than 150 more emergency areas to motorways across the country.

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“The programme of work in the south will start from April 25, 2024, and all sections are expected to be open by the end of March 2025.”

The letter added that the work between junctions 10 and 12 of the M4 is planned to begin on May 7. It did not say when that work might end.

However it added that ‘dates are subject to change, and it may take a few weeks before the roadworks appear as preparatory work is completed'.

As part of the work, the left lane on each carriageway of the four lane motorways will be closed. The other three lanes will be open with 50 miles per hour speed limits.



Work will take place on Mondays to Fridays from 7am to 7pm. The National Highways letter also said there may be times when lanes and junctions are closed for construction and deliveries.

But it said these closures would be ‘overnight and at weekends when traffic flows are at their lowest'. It said: “Should there be a need to close overnight there will be clearly signed diversion routes in place.”

The work will install emergency stopping areas along the M4 after safety concerns over ‘smart motorways'. These are motorways that have replaced their hard shoulder with an extra lane for traffic, while cameras control speed limits and lane closures.

But after fears that drivers in trouble would have nowhere to stop, the government stopped building smart motorways in April last year. And National Highways is installing 100-metre long, bright orange emergency stopping areas along those already in use.

National Highways Project Sponsor Felicity Clayton said: “Safety is our highest priority and we have listened to drivers' concerns about having more places to stop in an emergency on motorways which don’t have a permanent hard shoulder.”