HE to open first phase of Manchester’s smart motorway


Highways England (HE) is to open the first phase of Manchester's £208m smart motorway later this year in order to improve journey times and address congestion. 

The first phase will include a five-mile stretch of the M62 near Rochdale and a two-mile road stretch of the M60 near Trafford Centre. 

Highways England senior project manager Jon Stokes said: "We will be able to begin a phased opening of the new smart motorway scheme this autumn, benefiting the 180,000 drivers who use the route every day.

"When the smart motorway is complete, drivers will be able to travel in an extra lane on the M62 and variable speed limits will keep traffic moving at a steady speed, tackling the stop-start conditions and tailbacks caused by sudden braking.

"Nearly 600 people are currently working to complete the project and we will open each section along the route as soon as possible."

The smart motorway scheme covers 13 junctions on the second busiest motorway in the country.

"When the smart motorway is complete, drivers will be able to travel in an extra lane on the M62 and variable speed limits will keep traffic moving."

The full scheme stretches between junction 8 of the M60 near Sale and junction 20 of the M62 near Rochdale.

HE plans to remove the temporary narrow lanes on the M62 beginning next month, as well as between junctions 8 and 10 on the M60 at a later stage in order to test the 100 traffic sensors installed along the 17-mile road stretch. 

Upon completion of the test, HE will turn on the new electronic variable speed limit signs from junctions 8 to 10 on the M60 and junctions 18 to 20 on the M62. 

The new traffic sensors installed on the smart motorway will automatically monitor vehicle numbers and adjust the speed limit accordingly. 

In addition, 50 CCTV cameras will offer a full coverage of the route, enabling HE traffic officers and the emergency services to respond more quickly to incidents. 

In 2013, HE completed a similar smart motorway scheme on a stretch of the M62 in West Yorkshire, which has resulted in commuters saving around 30 minutes each week.