Press release

New night closure for Manchester’s smart motorway upgrade

The M62 between Heywood and Rochdale will be closed this Saturday night (23 January) while work continues on Manchester’s smart motorway upgrade.

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Contractors for Highways England have been closing short stretches of the motorway to install temporary narrow lanes on the M60 between junctions 15 (M61 interchange) and 18 (M66/M62 interchange), and to remove supporting posts for overhead gantries on the M62 between junctions 19 (Heywood) and 20 (Rochdale).

One closure to remove the gantry posts had to be postponed and will now take place on Saturday 23 January between 9.30pm to 10am.

The 40 metre wide gantries, which spanned the width of the motorway and each weighed 130 tonnes, were removed before Christmas as part of the smart motorway project which will see the hard shoulder permanently converted to an extra lane between junctions 18 and 20 of the M62.

When the smart motorway goes live, variable speed limits will be used along the route to keep traffic moving. The temporary narrow lanes between junctions 15 and 18 of the M60 will allow engineers to install technology at the side of the motorway needed to monitor the flow of traffic.

The recently installed narrow lanes mean 4 lanes can be kept open in each direction while also providing additional space at the side of the motorway so that work can be carried out safely.

Highways England’s project manager, Paul Hampson, said:

We arranged for these closures to take place overnight when traffic levels are at their lowest so we can keep the impact on drivers to a minimum.

The smart motorway scheme is a major upgrade to tackle congestion and reduce journey times. The extra lane on the M62 will increase capacity between the North West and Yorkshire, and the variable limit will tackle stop-start conditions by keeping vehicles moving.

Clearly signed diversions will be in place for this closure and we’re encouraging drivers who intend to travel overnight to plan their journeys in advance.

The £202 million smart motorway scheme between junction 8 of the M60 near Sale and junction 20 of the M62 near Rochdale will see the latest technology being used to monitor traffic levels and keep vehicles moving.

When the scheme is completed in autumn 2017, around 200 new electronic message signs on overhead gantries will warn drivers of changes in the mandatory speed limit, lane closures and incidents ahead.

To stay up to date with the latest developments, visit the scheme page.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

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

Published 21 January 2016