Greater Manchester’s smart motorway
Drivers using the M60 in Greater Manchester are enjoying the benefits of the region’s first smart motorway.
The technology went live on Tuesday 31 July 2018 on the final M60 section between junction 10 and junction 18, meaning that the whole of the motorway between junction 8 of the M60 at Sale and junction 20 of the M62 at Rochdale is fully-operational.
As well as an extra running lane in each direction along the M62 between junction 18 and junction 20, intensive extra technology, such as CCTV cameras and electronic signs, has been provided along both the M60 and M62 sections. Variable mandatory speed limits guide traffic along the motorway at steady speeds – tackling congestion and frustrating stop-start driving conditions.
A ‘Smart Motorway’ is a section of motorway which uses technology to control the flow of traffic. Key features of a smart motorway include the use of variable speed limits and the use of the hard shoulder at busy times as smart motorways increase the capacity of the road without the expense and hassle of widening the road. They are designed to make the traffic flow more smoothly, make journey times more reliable and reduce crashes.
Highways England Senior Project Manager Jonathan Stokes, said: “We would like to thank users of the M60 and M62 and people living around them for their patience and support over the last few years while we have worked to deliver this vital investment in what is an almost uniquely complex environment.
“Although this is the first smart motorway in the North West the system has been running successfully in other parts of the country for several years – including around Leeds – and we’re confident it will deliver safer, smoother and more reliable journeys.”
The launch of Greater Manchester’s smart motorway marked the end of a year’s delay for the £208 million, 17-mile project.
Four more smart motorway improvements – worth £500 million and delivering 90 miles of extra lanes to the local motorway network – are also due to be constructed during the next few years. The first of these – the M62 junction 10 to junction 12 project which will link the M6 near Warrington to the M60 near Eccles – started in late August, while M56 (junctions 6 to 8), M6 (junctions 21a to 26) and M62 (junctions 20 to 25) schemes are also planned.
Highways England is responsible for smart motorways in England.