A £7m programme of safety improvements along a section of the M53 in Cheshire starts this week.
National Highways is replacing large sections of ageing steel safety barriers in both the northbound and southbound verges and central reservation between junctions 9 and 11 of the motorway.
A major feature of the improvements involves replacing some of the steel barriers in the central reservation with a concrete barrier.
The section of the motorway between junctions 5 and 11 was due to be converted to an all lane running smart motorway under the first Road Investment Strategy but the plan was shelved in 2017 and never reinstated.
All lane running schemes have concrete central barrier as standard and National Highways is fitting it to sections of motorway that were due to be converted before the Government suspended and then scrapped the smart motorway programme.
The M53 work will start on Friday (24 November) and is expected to be completed next August.
National Highways project manager Ross Hepburn said: ‘This is an important project to improve safety along this busy section of the M53 by replacing ageing steel barriers with brand new steel barriers and – where favourable ground conditions and foundations allow – sections of concrete safety barrier.
‘We’ll be working around the clock but doing all we can to minimise inconvenience to motorway users including working in short sections along the carriageway where possible so drivers aren’t met with miles and miles of traffic management.'
The new barriers will be installed along the northbound and southbound carriageways first before moving into the central reservation. Drainage repairs will also be taking place to make the best use of the traffic management.
Traffic management will include narrowed lanes, a 50mph speed limit and – until mid-December - a lane closure on the link road from the southbound M53 to the eastbound M56 at Stoak Interchange.
Overnight lane closures will also be taking place throughout the project and some overnight full carriageway closures to install traffic management will be required at various times with the first on Friday to install the project traffic management.