Sector - Consultancy

Manchester Motorway Could Get Missing Link

The only motorway in England where drivers need to come off to continue their journey could be about to get its missing link. This anomaly was created around 20 years ago when the M60 was formed. The M60 connects several existing motorways with a new stretch of road to form a 36-mile ring road around Manchester.

The current set-up of the road means that drivers travelling Eastbound on the M60 at J18 near Prestwich, which is known to locals as Simister Island, will find themselves on the M62 to Leeds if they don’t use a roundabout to reach the Southbound section of the M60.

However, Highways England is now developing plans to cut journey times for the 90,000 drivers that use junction every day. Drivers, residents and business owners will now be able have their say on the proposals in a new eight-week public consultation which launched on Monday 22 June.

One of the options being brought to the table involves creating a new link road in a loop from the Eastbound to the Southbound M60, which would mean that drivers travelling clockwise would be able to continue their journeys without leaving the M60. This option is available to view here.

Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England’s Chief Executive, said: “We want to provide quicker and more reliable journeys for drivers across the North.

“Simister Island is one of England’s busiest motorway junctions, and the improvements we’re planning will make it easier for people travelling between the M60, M62 and M66.

“We now need your views to help make that much-needed motorway upgrade a reality.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Today’s announcement is a step forwards in making the M60 easier to use, less confusing and more efficient for drivers.

“I welcome this vital improvement which has the potential to cut journey times, improve reliability and boost businesses in the North.”

Highways England is encouraging as many people as possible to share their views on this public consultation over the next eight weeks to help to develop the designs for the motorway upgrade. Other proposals include creating a new two-lane link road for drivers travelling from the Northbound to the Westbound stretches of the M60 at Simister Island, as well as a new link road from the Eastbound M60 onto the Northbound M66.

The hard shoulder would also be converted to a permanent extra lane along the mile-long stretch of the M60 between J17 and J18 to improve the flow of traffic, providing five lanes in both directions.

Peter Molyneux, Major Roads Director at Transport for the North, said: “Simister Island is a well-known anomaly in the area which causes delay and disruption for thousands of vehicles every day.

It is included in our Northern Infrastructure Pipeline as a vital scheme for improving road connections in the North West, and on completion the upgrade will better serve local traffic and improve reliability for east-west journeys across our region.

“This consultation is welcome news as the next stage in progressing this scheme and we urge everyone to give their views.”

Highways England is changing the way it carries out its consultations during the Coronavirus pandemic, and, will no longer be holding face-to-face public events. Instead, the organisation will arrange a series of telephone and online chats, where those who take part in the consultation will be able to speak directly to a member of the project team. Almost 10,000 consultation brochures are also being posted to homes and businesses near Simister Island.

The project team will be available to answer your calls on 141 0117 2444 061 every Tuesday for four weeks from Tuesday 30 June between 11am and 7pm, as well as on Saturday 11 July and Saturday 18 July during the same times. Using 141 at the start of the number will withhold your phone number.

The online chats will take place on the project web page between 10am and 5pm on Thursday 9 July and Thursday 16 July.

A preferred option for the scheme is due to be announced in the winter once the consultation responses have been considered and, if the project is approved by the government, construction work could start by 2024.

You can find out more about the proposals and complete a consultation response form at

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