Press release

Green light for Greater Manchester smart motorway as work gets underway

A major project to cut congestion and improve journey times on parts of the M60 and the M62 in Greater Manchester will begin on Monday 14 July.

Smart motorway map

The £208 million Highways Agency scheme will see a 17-mile stretch of the network between junction 8 of the M60 near Sale and junction 20 of the M62 near Rochdale upgraded to a smart motorway – the first of its kind in the North West.

The latest technology will be installed to monitor traffic levels, provide traffic information to road users, and ease congestion by using variable speed limits on overhead message signs.

The hard shoulder will also be permanently converted into an extra lane on a five-mile stretch of the M62 between junctions 18 and 20 to provide extra capacity on the part of the motorway which links the North West to Yorkshire.

Stephen Greenhalgh, Project Manager at the Highways Agency, said:

It is great news that we are starting work on these vital improvements, which are part of the record £24 billion investment the government is making in the road network over this Parliament and the next to support economic growth.

Once completed, the smart motorway will tackle the congestion and unpredictable journey times that users of the M60 and M62 experience every day. It is also good news for the construction industry as more than a thousand jobs will be created to help deliver these vital improvements.

Starting on Monday, the first stage of the project will see engineers carry out site surveys and ground investigation work. Some sections of the hard shoulder will be closed although vehicles will be able to get through the cones in an emergency. A free vehicle recovery service will also be provided for anyone who breaks down within the coned off areas.

From Monday 21 July, a temporary steel barrier to protect road workers will be installed in the hard shoulder between junction 18 of the M62 at the M60/M66 interchange and junction 20 at Rochdale. At the same time a 50mph speed limit will be introduced on the M62 section, to ensure the safety of the workforce and motorists.

The temporary speed limit, enforced with temporary average speed cameras, will then gradually be extended across the length of the smart motorway route over the following weeks.

All of the lanes on the motorway will remain open during the day throughout the roadworks but some overnight closures will be required later in the project.

Stephen added:

We will do everything we can to keep disruption to a minimum, but motorists are still well advised to leave enough time for their journeys, especially during the busy morning and evening peak periods, and to drive safely through the roadworks.

To avoid the risk of breaking down, we also encourage people to do their bit by making sure they’ve got enough fuel before they set off and keeping MOTs and services up-to-date.

Once completed, in autumn 2017, more than 200 new electronic signs on the M60 and M62 will warn drivers of changes in the mandatory speed limit, lane closures, and incidents ahead.

New CCTV cameras will also be used to monitor traffic levels from the Highways Agency’s Regional Control Centre at Newton-le-Willows in Merseyside.

Emergency refuge areas will be created on the section of M62 without a hard shoulder and the overhead signs will be used to display a red X to close lanes during incidents, allowing emergency vehicles to get through.

The project is being carried out by Balfour Beatty in partnership with Costain, Carillion and a BAM Morgan Sindall Joint Venture.

To stay up to date with the latest developments, visit the Highways Agency’s Facebook page or the Highways Agency’s website, where you can register to be kept informed about the news on the scheme.

Videos of how the smart motorway will look are also available on YouTube

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways Agency press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.

Published 11 July 2014