The Highways Agency began work on the £4.2 million project earlier this month and expects the new lane to be open by the end of March.
It will run for approximately one mile from where the eastbound entry slip road joins the motorway at junction 7, and will remove the need for drivers to quickly merge with other traffic. The extra lane will replace the hard shoulder for a short section.
Narrow lanes and a temporary 50mph speed limit are currently in place on the eastbound side of the motorway, and some overnight lane and carriageway closures will be required later in the project. The closures will take place between 10pm and 5am, and diversions will be in place.
Phil Tyrrell, Project Manager at the Highways Agency, said:
Anyone who uses the junction near Altrincham to get onto the M56 will have experienced the problem for themselves, with traffic regularly queuing a long way down the slip road.
The new extra lane will remove the need for motorists to quickly merge onto the motorway. It should also improve the general flow of traffic for everyone as drivers won’t need to brake to allow people to change lanes.
We need to have narrow lanes and a temporary speed limit in place while this work takes place for the safety of our workers and the public. When the new lane opens, I’m sure drivers will notice the difference it makes.
The project at junction 7 of the M56 is among 123 in the government’s £317 million ‘pinch-point’ initiative – a two year programme of targeted work being carried out alongside larger schemes and routine maintenance and improvements on motorways and major A roads.
The pinch-point programme, devised with the input of councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships, is designed to help stimulate new development and local economic growth by improving road safety and tackling congestion bottle necks. In all, 28 projects, worth £66 million, are taking place across the North West.
More details and updates on the project are available on the Highways Agency’s website
Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the Highways Agency press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.