Work starts next month on a £7 million smart motorway scheme aimed at easing congestion on an eastbound stretch of the M62 near Warrington in Cheshire.
The scheme for Highways England is where junction 21a of the M6 meets junction 10 of the M62 at the Croft Interchange, which is one of the most congested sections of road in the region.
Andy Withington, Highways England’s programme delivery manager for the North West, said: “This is an opportunity to combine existing technology and traffic management systems in a novel way to see whether we can give drivers using the frequently congested eastbound M62 lower journey times during peak hours and smoother, more reliable journeys.
“The system should be up and running by next summer and we will be monitoring its use over a period of up to a year. If it is successful – and we believe it will be – it could well be used on other motorway to motorway slip roads across the country.”
By next summer, smart motorway technology, such as electronic information signs and variable mandatory speed limits, will be used alongside traffic lights on the motorway link roads between the M62 and the M6.
Drivers are being reassured that while traffic lights will be installed at the end of link roads onto the eastbound M62, traffic leaving the M6 will still be closely monitored and lights controlled to minimise queuing on the M6.
Mott MacDonald has designed the project and to minimise disruption during the eight-month construction period will mainly be carried out overnight and take place in the hard shoulder with occasional overnight carriageway closures for large work such as gantry installations.
This latest project is a pilot scheme, which will also form part of the permanent M62 junction 10 to junction 12 smart motorway system between Warrington and Manchester. Work on this project will not start until 20918 at the earliest.
Money for the M62 eastbound project is coming from a £150 million innovation fund, which forms part of the £15 billion allocated to Highways England in the Government’s 2015 to 2020 Road Investment Strategy. The innovation fund is designed to encourage Highways England to look at new technology or novel techniques to improve journeys.