100 miles of extra lanes coming to north west motorways in scheme worth £500m

Motorists in the north west are set to benefit from four new motorway schemes that will provide 100 miles of extra lanes on the region’s roads in a bid to tackle congestion and improve journey times.

Highways England has announced that construction is to start within the next 18 months and the first nine-mile stretch of work on the M62 which links the M6 near Warrington to the M60 near Eccles to begin later this summer.

Drivers have already been able to use over 10 miles of extra lanes on the M62 near Rochdale since December last year, and a stretch of smart motorway has also been completed on the M60 near the Trafford Centre.

The final temporary narrow lanes were removed earlier this week on the Manchester smart motorway scheme, and more than 200 electronic signs are due to be switched on later this month on a nine-mile stretch of the M60 between Trafford Park and the M62/M66 interchange at Simister Island.

Commenting on the announcement, Mike Bull, Highways England’s smart motorways programme manager for the North, said hundreds of thousands of drivers who use the motorways every day will benefit from the improvements.

He added: “Smart motorways have been proven to be effective at tackling congestion, with the smart motorway on the M62 in West Yorkshire saving commuters an average of 30 minutes each week. We’ll be starting work on four new smart motorways in the North West over the next 18 months and will do everything we can to keep disruption to a minimum, including only closing parts of the motorway overnight when traffic levels are much lower.”

50mph speed limit will be implemented near junction 12 of the M62 this summer as temporary narrow lanes are introduced to allow contractors to work at the side of the motorway. The roadworks will be gradually extended to junction 10 by the autumn and the smart motorway scheme is due to be completed by spring 2020.

Variable speed limits will also be introduced between junctions 10 and 18 on the M60 later this summer when the remaining section of the north west’s first smart motorway goes live. The speed limit will remain at 50mph until then while the new technology is being fine-tuned.

Other schemes taking place in the region include a 20-mile-stretch of smart motorway on the M6 in Cheshire where construction work is due to be completed by spring 2019, providing 40 miles of extra lanes for drivers.

Work will start in spring 2019 on a four-mile smart motorway on the M56 near Manchester Airport, and on a 10-mile stretch of smart motorway on the part of the M6 which links the M62 near Warrington to the M58 near Skelmersdale. Finally, a new 19-mile smart motorway will be created over the Pennines on the M62 between Rochdale and Brighouse.

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