Work set to start on five new stretches of smart motorway
Work is set to start on five new stretches of smart motorway.
The countdown has begun to an end to the 50mph speed limit on the current M60 and M62 works.
But another clock is now ticking, in preparation for the start of work elsewhere on the M60 and M62 – as well as the M56 and M6.
It’ll mean six more years of work.
The M.E.N. told on Thursday how, after three years, £208m works to upgrade two sections on the M60 and M62 are drawing to a close.
In just two months time, the M62 stretch between junctions 18 to 20 at Rochdale will be completed.
And three months after that, the M60 route from junction eight to 18, between Sale and the M62, will also be completed, drawing to a close the 17-mile works.
Although the speed cameras will remain to monitor fluctuating speed limits, the much-maligned 50mph fixed limit will go.
For a while.
But come Spring next year, it all begins again – with FIVE smart motorway projects due to start on our commuter routes:
- The first lined up is for the M62 work between Junctions 10 at the Croft interchange where the M62 meets the M6 and 12, which is Eccles interchange in Spring next year.
- Then, as of early 2019, drivers using the southern part of the M60 should brace themselves for work starting on the seven-mile stretch from Junction 24 through Stockport to Junction 4 at Cheadle. Consultation on that is imminent, say Highways England bosses.
- Just as the current M6 works between Junction 16 near Crewe and junction 19 near Knutsford, finish in Spring 2019, more is set to will be for the installation of a smart motorway between junctions 21a to 26 of the M6.
- Back to the M62, and works on the link between junctions 20 and 25 are set for a start date in March 2020. This is for a Smart Motorway with the hard shoulder converted into an extra lane. It’ll come at a cost of £283.2m to £392.3m
- Then it’s over to the M56, with engineers due to move in during Spring 2020 to create a smart motorway between junctions six and eight, around Manchester Airport. This is expected to have knock-on effect on M60 traffic.
Highways England says it’s still in the ‘design phase’ for each project, but expects all the schemes to be completed within two and three years.
Bosses say they aim to ensure major lane or carriageway closures take place overnight when traffic levels are much lower.
As part of the current M60/M62 work, the hard shoulder is being converted into an extra lane on a five-mile stretch of the M62, junctions 18 to 20 at Rochdale.
Around 200 new electronic signs are being installed along the entire 17-mile route between Sale and Rochdale, junction eight of the M60 to junction 20 of the M62.
It’s coincided with smart motorway work on the M6, between junctions 16 and 19, which started work in February last year and is due to finish in spring 2019.
The investment is part of a £1.5bn overhaul in the north west’s roads over the next five years, including creating nearly 80 miles of smart motorway.
Smart motorways work by opening up the hard shoulder to create an extra lane when congestion is high, and using variable speed limits in an effort to keep the traffic flowing.
A spokesman for Highways England said: “The M60 smart motorway near Stockport is in the design and development phase, with construction work due to start by spring 2019.
“We will be holding a public consultation on the project in the near future. When the scheme is completed it will tackle congestion and improve journeys for the tens of thousands of drivers who use the M60 every day.”