The Department of Transport has announced its intention to widen the M1 from Leicester to Leeds (junctions 21 - 42) to 4 lanes in both directions. There is also widening planned for junctions 6a-13 (M25 - Luton). Work is planned to start on the section from junction 6a - 10 in January 2006.

The M1 carries a huge volume of traffic (some sections up to 160,000 vehicles per day). There is congestion at peak times. The widening is proposed to "reduce congestion and improve both safety and journey time reliability".

The proposed works are estimated to cost over £3 billion. Road programmes frequently exceed their estimates by a factor of three.