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First wider lanes opened on Manchester's smart motorway
First wider lanes opened on Manchester's smart motorway

First wider lanes opened on Manchester’s smart motorway

The project to bring a smart motorway to the North West has moved a step forward with the news that part of the M62 now has wider lanes to help improve traffic flow.

It means that five miles of this part of the motorway, close to Rochdale, will now be easier to commute on. It is necessary given that the M62 in this region is one of the busiest motorways in the whole of the country, and certainly one of the most used in the area.

Narrow lanes between junctions 18 and 20 have been removed and this is a significant milestone in the phased opening of the first smart motorway scheme in the region.

Highways England is on track to meet its targets; it was announced last month that this autumn would see the start of phased opening of the smart motorway. 

The £208 million project will improve the motorway between junction 8 of the M60 and junction 20 of the M62, a crucial part of the main east-west transport corridor.

As part of this project, new technology will give better information to drivers, with speed limits changing to fit in with the flow of traffic, while also keeping commuters and other motorists moving.

Plans are in place to open extra lanes on the M62 in time for the Christmas getaway, which will increase capacity in the area by approximately a third.

Jon Stokes is the Senior Project Manager at Highways England.

He outlined the process for the phased opening: “I’m pleased we’ve been able to remove the temporary narrow lanes on the M62 – benefiting the 180,000 drivers who use the route every day. Nearly 600 people are currently working to complete the smart motorway and we will open each section along the route as soon as possible.

“When the smart motorway is complete, drivers will be able to travel in an extra lane on the M62 and variable speed limits will help to keep traffic flowing – tackling the stop/start conditions and tailbacks caused by sudden braking.”

Once the smart motorway is fully opened next summer, traffic sensors will be able to monitor traffic flow, adjusting the speed in accordance with the needs.

The next step will see the narrow lanes removed that are currently between junctions 8 and 10 of the M60.

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