THERE will be no disruption to Christmas and New Year traffic on the M4 in Newport due to the new average speed zone.

As reported in the Argus last week, work is under way to install the average speed camera system in place of the current variable speed zone.

The project was due to begin earlier this year but was postponed by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Between November and February, there will be a series of overnight lane closures and full carriageway closures on the M4 – but Traffic Wales will pause roadworks for a fortnight over the busier festive period.

The average speed zone was one of the initial recommendations made by the South East Wales Transport Commission, and one of three 'quick fixes' designed to improve traffic flow on the motorway in Newport.

The commission found the current variable speed zone struggled to improve congestion at busier times of day, and was linked to "harsh" accelerating and braking from some drivers.

In a variable speed zone, a series of overhead gantries contain individual speed cameras – each set to the speed limit displayed on the electronic screen in front of it.

Much like the standalone speed cameras seen on other roads, they can only capture a still image recording a vehicle's speed as it passes by.

Average speed cameras, on the other hand, are interlinked and record vehicles moving along a measured set of road – calculating how fast a motorist drove through the entire zone, rather than just past each camera location.

READ MORE: Speed cameras – everything you need to know about how they operate in Gwent

The majority of the M4 roadworks will involve lane closures on the M4, but there will be some total carriageway closures when engineers need to work on the overhead gantries and remove road markings.

All roadworks will be completed overnight between 8pm and 6am.

In chronological order, here is the current schedule for the M4 roadworks:

Lane closures: Between November 16 and 30, there will be lane closures only. Traffic Wales said these phases would involve the closure of up to two lanes on a carriageway.

Eastbound closures: Between November 30 and December 15, there will be 12 total closures of the eastbound carriageway between Junction 28 (Tredegar Park) and Junction 24 (Coldra). The diversion route is via the A48 Southern Distributor Road (SDR).

Westbound closures: Between December 15 and 21, there will be the first of 15 total closures of the westbound carriageway between J24 and J28. Diversion route via SDR.

Christmas break: There will be no work over the Christmas and New Year period, lasting from December 21 until January 3.

Westbound closures: Work resumes on the 15 total closures of the westbound carriageway between J24 and J28, between January 3 and 19. Diversion route via SDR.

Eastbound closures: Between January 20 and February 2, there will be 10 total closures of the eastbound carriageway between J28 and J24. Diversion route via SDR.

Westbound closures: Between February 3 and 22, there will be 14 total closures of the westbound carriageway between J24 and J28. Diversion route via SDR.

Estimated completion date: February 28. Average speed cameras go live in March.