The latest phase of the Smart Motorway project to tackle congestion and improve journey times on the M60 and M62 near Manchester is now underway.
Contractors for Highways England have finished work to convert the hard shoulder on a five-mile stretch of the M62 near Rochdale to a standard motorway lane and started working in the central reservation.
More than 7,000 tonnes of concrete will be used to create a new safety barrier in the central reservation, which will reduce the risk of vehicles crossing onto the opposite carriageway in collisions. The barrier is also likely to require fewer repairs, cutting the need for lane closures.
Highways England says that, once complete the Smart Motorway will increase capacity on this section of the motorway by a third, making journeys quicker and more reliable.
Stephen Hill, Senior Project Manager at Highways England, said, “This scheme will ultimately improve journeys for the tens of thousands of drivers who use it every day, and the completion of the hard shoulder work is a major milestone for the project.
“We can now start installing the new concrete safety barrier in the central reservation and work towards lifting the roadworks between junctions 18 and 20 on the M62 by the end of September.”
Work is also continuing throughout the 17-mile scheme, which runs from junction 8 of the M60 at Sale to junction 20 of the M62 at Rochdale, to upgrade 56 overhead gantries so that they can be fitted with new electronic signs.
Overnight closures between several junctions are being used so that contractors can carry out major overhead gantry work on longer stretches of the route. A maximum of six miles of the motorway will be closed each night, between 10pm and 6am, and clearly-signed diversions will be in place.
The Manchester smart motorway is due to go live in sections starting in September, with all of the roadworks planned to be lifted by the end of the year.
Variable speed limits will be introduced on new overhead electronic signs on the completed smart motorway to tackle congestion and keep traffic moving.
The signs will also be used to inform drivers about lane closures and incidents ahead, and CCTV cameras covering the entire route will allow Highways England’s traffic officers and the emergency services to respond quickly to incidents.