Road users across the North West – in particular those using routes in Cumbria and Lancashire - are being urged to check the weather and driving conditions before setting out on journeys tonight (Thursday 8 January) and throughout tomorrow morning with a Met Office forecast of gale-force winds for the region.
High winds, including westerly cross winds affecting north to south routes like the M6 and the A56 in Lancashire, are forecast for between 11pm tonight and noon tomorrow (Friday 9 January). Wind speeds of between 60mph and 70mph are possible.
Gale-force winds are also possible tomorrow night and into Saturday (10 January).
The Highways Agency has today issued its first amber alert for the new year for tonight and tomorrow morning’s weather – with drivers of high-sided vehicles and other vulnerable vehicles such as caravans and motorcycles being urged to avoid using exposed sections of motorways and other routes across the north.
The Highways Agency, which operates and maintains motorways and major A roads in England, is working closely with the Met Office to monitor weather conditions and maintain safe roads and reliable journeys.
Locations in the North West potentially affected by gusts overnight tonight and throughout tomorrow morning include:
- M53 J1-J2 Wallasey to Birkenhead
- M56 J12 Runcorn and Sutton Weaver
- M58 J1 Kirkby
- M6 J20-J21 Thelwall Viaduct
- M6 J26-J27 M58 to Standish
- M6 J36-J45 Through Cumbria
- M60 J10-J12 Barton Bridge
- M60 J16-J17 Pendlebury and Kearsley to Prestwich and Whitefield
- M62 J18 - J27 Between Manchester and Leeds
- M61 J4-J5 Westhoughton
- M61 J9 / M65 J1 Interchange
- A56 Between M65 and A680 at Edenfield
- M65 J3-J4 Withnell and Blackburn Interchange
- A66 Between M6 J40 - A1 (Scotch Corner)
- A69 All of it
Drivers are advised to plan their journeys before they set out, checking the forecast and road conditions, to leave extra time for their journeys if travel conditions are poor, and to delay their journey if the weather becomes severe.
Road users should heed messages on the overhead signs and listen for radio updates. Up-to-date information on road conditions on England’s motorways and trunk roads is available on the Agency website at www.highways.gov.uk/traffic or by calling 0300 123 5000. For information on weather conditions, visit the Met Office website www.metoffice.gov.uk or listen to local radio.
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.