The UK Highway Agency has started a £150m project to open up the hard shoulder of the M62 motorway in Yorkshire, which will ease congestion and improve safety.

The project involves initial works on a 15.5-mile stretch in West Yorkshire between Junction 25 at Brighouse and Junction 30 at Rothwell near Leeds.

Under the project the Highways Agency will open up the hard shoulder permanently in both directions between junctions 25 and 26, and manage speed limits between junctions 25 and 30.

Emergency refuges will be placed every 800m where the hard shoulder is in use.

The project will allow the motorway to be controlled by a variety of measures including variable speeds, which will be flashed on electronic signs on gantries above the motorway to prevent stop and start conditions familiar to users of the route.

In addition, sensors will also be placed in the road to measure traffic levels and speeds, which will be monitored.

The construction work is expected to commence by October and the project will be completed in 2013-14, increasing the capacity of the motorway.