Highways England has confirmed £500 million worth of smart motorway schemes will commence in the next 18 months, adding over 100 miles of extra lanes to motorways in the north west.
Progress has already been made in the region, with significant improvement on the upgrade to smart motorways in Manchester, which has already seen wider lanes opened.
This has led to in excess of 10 miles of extra motorway on the M62 near Rochdale, while a stretch close to the Trafford Centre on the M60 is also now benefiting from smart motorway and the electronic signs that alert drivers to differing speeds based on traffic conditions.
More than 200 extra electronic signs will be switched on at the end of July on the stretch down to Simister Island, bringing another nine miles of smart motorway live.
And now, the government-owned company in charge of operating, maintaining and improving the motorways in England have said that one of the smart motorway schemes – a nine-mile stretch of the M62 that links the M60 near Eccles with the M6 near Warrington – will start this summer.
Using the latest technology to set variable speed limits, traffic can continue at a steady speed at peak traffic times; hard shoulders on every new smart motorway will become permanent extra lanes, while new emergency areas will be created for drivers who break down.
Thanks to new CCTV cameras, full coverage will be provided on all routes so that lanes can be closed if there are any problems, allowing emergency services to solve the issues.
As well as the work on the M62, construction will be completed next year on a 20-mile stretch of smart motorway on the M6 in Cheshire.
Elsewhere, work will start next spring to introduce four miles of smart motorway on the M56 near Manchester Airport, as well as 10 miles on the M6 linking the M62 near Warrington to the M58 near Skelmersdale.
Work is also set to start on 19 miles of smart motorway on the M62 between Rochdale and Brighouse, linking other schemes on the M62, therefore creating nearly 60 miles of smart motorway between the north west and Yorkshire.
Work will start in autumn 2019, which will ultimately result in long term benefits for businesses in the region.