The M1 motorway connects London to Leeds, and stretches 193.6 miles in length. It opened in 1959 as the UK’s first motorway - it actually featured the very first motorway services, Watford Gap - and was built in four phases. When the M1 first opened, it was a very different motorway to today; in its early days there were no speed limits in place for vehicles and no crash barriers or central reservation.
The M1 starts at Edgware in north London and ends between Micklefield and Aberford, just outside Leeds. It connects to several other motorways, with junctions providing access to the M25, M45, M6, M69, M18, M62, M621 and A1M. It also covers ten of the UK’s counties, from London up to Yorkshire, and is therefore one of the most used and significant motorways in the country. The M1 links to major cities, including Sheffield, Nottingham, Derby and Leicester.
There have been a number of extensions to the motorway with a new section added as recently as 1999. There have also been widening projects on the M1, notably between J6a and J10, and J31-J32, on both occasions to add a fourth lane to the motorway. Perhaps the most interesting section of the M1 is the two-tier structure at Tinsley Viaduct. The M1 takes the top deck of the motorway, and the A631 runs on the bottom tier.
To stay up to date on M1 traffic news, visit this page to check for any potential delays to your journey.
Worst Junctions on the M1
If you’re planning to travel on this motorway, it’s worth looking up the latest M1 traffic updates to avoid congestion, roadworks and accidents. The M1 is one of the busiest motorways in the UK, and includes junctions that experience a build-up of traffic.
This junction can get extremely busy - it’s where the M25, the ring road surrounding London, meets the M1.
J6 of the M1 links to the A405, and Watford, and also provides access to the M25. Traffic flow can be heavy and slow, with motorists restricted to low speeds.
This is the Kegworth Interchange in the East Midlands, but it provides connections to the A6, A50 and A453, so you can imagine the potential and frequent congestion. Work to improve the junction and surrounding area started in 2017.
The M62 interchange is constantly busy - no surprise given that this is the crossing point for two of the UK’s biggest motorways. The M62 provides access to some of the north’s largest cities in Liverpool, Manchester and Hull.
Accident Hotspots on the M1
As with all motorways in the UK, there is always the risk of an accident on the M1 although there are excellent safety precautions in place. Always check for M1 traffic news to be aware of any accidents, and to avoid these areas if possible during your journey.
In 2017, there were multiple fatalities after a collision involving two lorries and a minibus - the incident occurred between junction 14 and 15, near Milton Keynes. The stretch between junction 21 and 22 has also seen recent accidents, resulting in lane closures, while the area between junction 12 and 13 - in the Bedford region - has been considered an accident hotspot.
Upcoming M1 Major Roadworks
As you might expect from a major motorway network, the M1 is regularly subject to roadworks, improvements and ongoing construction work. Use the RAC Route Planner service and make a note of M1 travel news so that you can account for delays in your journey.
Upcoming major roadworks on the M1 include:
M1 Junction 13 to 16 - there is planned work to turn this 24-mile section of the M1 into an All-Lane Running smart motorway. The scheduled end date for this is June 2021.
M1 Junction 23a to 25 - currently in operation, this £120 million scheme is to create a smart motorway. Set for completion at the end of 2018, there are several traffic diversions in place to manage disruption.