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Manchester’s Smart Motorway Enters New Phase

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The latest phase of a major project to tackle congestion and improve journey times on the M60 and M62 is due to start today (Tuesday 14 June).

Contractors for Highways England will begin work to upgrade 56 overhead gantries on the 17-mile smart motorway route between junction 8 of the M60 near Sale and junction 20 of the M62 near Rochdale, so that they can be fitted with new electronic signs.

The work will be carried out overnight, when traffic levels are at their lowest, and various different short stretches of the motorway will need to be closed during most nights, from Monday to Friday, over the next 11 months. The smart motorway scheme will see the latest technology being used to monitor traffic levels and keep vehicles moving by using variable speed limits.

The hard shoulder will also be permanently converted into an extra lane between junctions 18 and 20 on the M62 to increase capacity on the route between Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire.

Highways England project manager Stef Wilson said: “Over 180,000 drivers travel along this stretch of the M60 and M62 every day, making it one of the busiest routes in the country.

“The new smart motorway will use variable speed limits to help tackle the stop-start conditions many of us have experienced in the past and an extra lane will be created on a 5-mile stretch of the M62.

“We need to close sections of the motorway overnight for the next 11 months for the latest phase of the project to upgrade 56 overhead gantries. We’re carrying out the work when the motorway is at its quietest, and are encouraging drivers to consider using alternative routes or allow extra time for their journeys.”

Four specialist subcontractors will be brought in to upgrade the gantries, using cranes, scissor lifts and cherry pickers. Existing signs will be removed and new steel support structures, cables, electronic signs and lights will be fitted to each gantry.

The first closure will take place over 6 nights, excluding Saturday and Sunday night, on the eastbound M62 between junction 18 at the interchange with the M60 and M62 and junction 19 (Heywood). The closures will be in place between 10pm and 6am, and drivers will be able to follow clearly-signed diversion routes.

When the smart motorway scheme is completed in autumn 2017, over 350 electronic signs will warn drivers of changes in the mandatory speed limit, lane closures and incidents ahead.

Drivers can stay up to date with the latest information by visiting thescheme website.

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