Highways England (HE) is entering the latest phase on a major project to add extra lanes and new technology that will provide quicker and more reliable journeys for drivers on one of the north west UK’s busiest stretches of motorway.
HE’s contractors are nearing the completion of a new concrete safety barrier in the central reservation as part of a scheme on the M62 motorway near Warrington. The route, which links the M6 near Warrington to the M60 near Eccles, is used by around 120,000 vehicles every day and commuters previously faced average speeds as low as 36mph (58km/h) before work started on the upgrade. The M62 motorway is a key strategic route for local, regional and international traffic and plays a major role as a cross-country artery between the north-west, Yorkshire and Humberside. The project section between junctions 10 and 12 carries high volumes of vehicles, particularly freight, between Liverpool and Manchester.
More than 350 people will be working on the next stage of the project during the summer months, which involves major construction work at the side of the motorway to install new giant overhead gantries, CCTV masts, safety barriers and lighting columns. When the M62 smart motorway upgrade is completed in spring 2020:
New overhead electronic signs will provide drivers with live information about their journeys, including changes in the speed limit, lane closures and incidents on the route;
Traffic sensors at the side of the motorway will be used to automatically set variable speed limits to improve the flow of traffic, preventing tailbacks, and stop-start conditions caused by sudden braking;
New CCTV cameras will provide extensive coverage of the motorway to help HE’s traffic officers at the North West Regional Control Center and the emergency services respond quickly to incidents, with frequent emergency areas giving drivers a safe place to stop if they break down;
A new concrete safety barrier in the central reservation will reduce the risk of vehicles crossing on to the opposite carriageway in collisions, and is likely to require fewer lane closures for repairs.
“We’ve now reached a key stage of the M62 upgrade where drivers will soon start to see the new steel gantries going up over the motorway which will hold dozens of electronic signs along the route,” explained Malcolm Carter, HE’s project manager for the scheme. “We’ve timed this work to take place during the summer when there aren’t as many vehicles using the motorway to minimize disruption as much as possible, and would like to thank drivers for their patience during this latest phase of the scheme. We’re on schedule to complete the project by the end of March next year when drivers will see major improvements to their journeys thanks to new technology as well as an extra lane in each direction.”