Highways England has announced major changes to the ways it manages motorway upgrade projects in an attempt to improve journeys and reduce the impact of roadworks on drivers.

The initiative was announced after receiving feedback from road users. It will enable the agency to change the timing of some of its road modernisation works.

Works include additional lanes and improved deployment of technology to the M56 near Manchester Airport and the M6 between Warrington and Wigan. These will take place after completion of ongoing motorway upgrades.

Projects were previously scheduled to begin in the first quarter of this year.

In addition, the agency has chosen to adopt new plans for the implementation of the smart motorway projects on the north-west’s motorways in the future.

As part of its new strategy, Highways England will amend the layout of roadworks, which will decrease the need for overnight diversions and help in early completion of the project.

Changes to the road layout will support the creation of larger construction areas at the side of motorways so that more work can be carried out in one shift. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

The company will also introduce contraflow roadworks layouts to cut the duration of schemes.

“We’re reviewing how we carry out major upgrades so that we can minimise disruption as much as possible and maintain connections for drivers using the road network.”

Furthermore, speed limits will also be increased to 60mph temporarily during times when it is safe for drivers and road workers. Throughout road upgrade work, three lanes will be maintained in each direction during the day.

Highways England north-west smart motorways programme manager Mike Bull said: “We’ve listened to what people have been telling us about roadworks and have decided to reschedule two major schemes, benefitting drivers who use our roads to get to work and businesses who deliver goods across the region. We’re committed to the upgrades; we are simply changing the timetable for projects on the M56 and M6.”

“We’re also reviewing how we carry out major upgrades so that we can minimise disruption as much as possible and maintain connections for drivers using the road network.”

Highways England has already completed major schemes on the M62 and M60. It has committed to complete the biggest upgrade of the north-west’s motorways in a generation. Since 2015, the agency has also opened a new link road between the M56 and M6.

Once the M62 scheme is complete, a project to upgrade a four-mile-stretch of the M56 near Manchester Airport will start by the first quarter of 2020. Works will start as planned around October this year to upgrade another stretch of the M62 between Rochdale and Brighouse in West Yorkshire.

Other major motorway projects such as a scheme on the M6 between Warrington and Wigan are scheduled to start between 2020 and 2025.