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New phase for Manchester’s smart motorway

The next phase of the major smart motorway project starts today, to tackle congestion and improve journey times.

The latest phase of a major project on the M60 and M62 starts today, which aims to tackle congestion and improve journey times.

Work will begin to upgrade 56 overhead gantries on the 17-mile smart motorway route between junction 8 of the M60 near Sale and junction 20 of the M62 near Rochdale, so that they can be fitted with new electronic signs.

Four specialist contactors will be brought in to upgrade the gantries, using cranes, scissor lifts and cherry pickers to remove existing signs and fit new steel support structures, cables, electronic signs and lights to each gantry.

From Monday to Friday over the next 11 months, various short stretches of the motorway will be closed overnight, when traffic levels are at their lowest.

The smart motorway scheme will see the latest technology being used to monitor traffic levels and keep vehicles moving by using variable speed limits.

The hard shoulder will also be permanently converted into an extra lane between junctions 18 and 20 on the M62 to increase capacity on the route between Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire.

Highways England Project Manager Stef Wilson said: “Over 180,000 drivers travel along this stretch of the M60 and M62 every day, making it one of the busiest routes in the country.

“The new smart motorway will use variable speed limits to help tackle the stop-start conditions many of us have experienced in the past and an extra lane will be created on a 5-mile stretch of the M62.

“We need to close sections of the motorway overnight for the next 11 months for the latest phase of the project to upgrade 56 overhead gantries. We’re carrying out the work when the motorway is at its quietest, and are encouraging drivers to consider using alternative routes or allow extra time for their journeys.”

The first closure will take place over 6 nights, excluding Saturday and Sunday night, on the eastbound M62 between junction 18 at the interchange with the M60 and M62 and junction 19 (Heywood). The closures will be in place between 10pm and 6am, and drivers will be able to follow clearly-signed diversion routes.

The smart motorway scheme is due to be completed by autumn 2017, with 350 electronic signs in place to warn drivers of changes in the mandatory speed limit, lane closures and incidents ahead.

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