Smart motorways could be on their way to Manchester
06/11/2013 Highways Reporters
The Highways Agency is consulting over plans to cut congestion and make journey times more reliable on the M60 and M62.
The planned changes to turn parts of the M60 and M62 in Greater Manchester into smart motorways will be revealed at a series of exhibitions this month.
Those who come along to the events will be able to speak to the Highways Agency’s project team, read more about the plans and watch a video “fly-through” – giving people a virtual tour of the improved motorways.
The smart motorways – the first of its kind in the North West – will be introduced on a 17-mile stretch of the network between Junction 8 of the M60 near Sale and Junction 20 of the M62 near Rochdale. These sections are used by more than 180,000 vehicles on a daily basis, with road users experiencing heavy congestion and unpredictable journey times.
The smart motorway system uses a combination of the latest technology to monitor traffic levels and provide traffic information to road users and ease congestion by using variable speed limits.
Smart motorways can also provide more capacity by permanently using the hard shoulder as an additional lane, with the creation of new safe refuge areas for any emergency. Electronic signs are used to close lanes to allow emergency vehicles through.
Jacqui Allen, senior project manager, said: “The exhibitions are a great opportunity for people to find out more about our plans to improve journey times on parts of the M60 and M62, so we encourage anyone with an interest to come along and put any questions they may have to the project team.”
Work is due to start in summer 2014 (subject to the completion of statutory processes), and is set to be completed in 2016/17.
*The Highways Agency has changed the name of managed motorways to smart motorways.