Drivers on the M60 will be able to benefit from wider lanes in time for the bank holiday weekend, helping to improve the flow of traffic on the second busiest motorway in England.
Across the country, some 237 miles of roadworks are being removed by 6am on Friday 25 May for the bank holiday getaway, meaning more than 98 per cent of the motorway and major A-road network managed by Highways England will be roadworks-free.
Smart motorway roadworks have already been completed between junctions 8 and 10 on the M60 near the Trafford Centre and between junctions 18 and 20 on the M62 near Rochdale, where drivers have been able to use an extra lane in each direction since December last year.
Temporary narrow lanes are now due to be removed on a 4-mile stretch of the M60 as Highways England works towards completing its smart motorway upgrade this summer.
Khalid El-Rayes, Project Manager for the Manchester smart motorway upgrade at Highways England, said:
“We’re now at the stage where we can remove the temporary narrow lanes on part of the M60 in time for the bank holiday weekend, and we’re working to complete the remaining construction work as soon as possible.
“We’re on schedule to be able to remove all the roadworks on the North West’s first smart motorway by the end of August, improving journeys for the 180,000 drivers who use the route every day.”
The Manchester smart motorway stretches 17 miles between junction 8 of the M60 near Carrington and junction 20 of the M62 near Rochdale. The scheme is Highways England’s most complex smart motorway project, covering 13 junctions – an average of one junction every 1.4 miles.
The 10 miles of extra lanes on the M62 have increased capacity on the stretch of motorway which links Greater Manchester to Yorkshire by a third, and new variable speed limits have also been introduced on electronic signs on both the M60 and M62 to tackle congestion and keep traffic flowing.
Drivers will be able to use wider lanes on the westbound carriageway between junction 18 at Simister and junction 15 at Worsley, and between junctions 15 and 17 on the eastbound carriageway from Friday morning. Narrow lanes are also due to be removed between junctions 17 and 18 on the eastbound carriageway early next month.
A temporary 50mph speed limit will remain in place between junctions 10 and 18 on the M60 into the summer while construction and technology work takes place to finish the smart motorway upgrade.
The work will include completing a new concrete safety barrier in the central reservation, fitting electronic signs to overhead gantries, installing new street lights and commissioning the new technology along the route.
Some overnight resurfacing work will continue into the autumn on parts of the M60 once the smart motorway is operational. This work will take place at night so that the route can remain fully open with no impact on drivers during the day.
When the smart motorway is complete, traffic sensors will automatically monitor the flow of traffic and adjust the speed limit accordingly, tackling the stop/start conditions and tailbacks caused by sudden braking.
A total of 50 CCTV cameras will also provide 100% coverage of the route, and allow Highways England’s traffic officers and the emergency services to respond quickly to incidents.
You can view more details on the Manchester smart motorway scheme.