Trucking through the North West is about to come full circle as the last leg of the M60 smart motorway development went live on the 31st July.
The section between Junction 18 for Sale and Junction 20 for the M62 at Rochdale was due to be completed by Autumn last year. However, progress was delayed due to unforeseen complexities.
The opening of the motorway will come as a relief to many commuters in the area who have dealt with almost four years of lane closures since work began on the project in late 2014.
The motorway is part of Highways England’s £100,000,000 investment in maintenance work across the roads of the North West.
Improvements, which include removal of narrow lanes and an extra lane added in both directions, will make taking wider loads such as vans and trucks much easier, since innumerable delays and accidents have been caused by the temporary lanes as work progressed.
According to Highways England Senior Project Manager Jonathan Stokes;
“Although this is the first smart motorway in the North West the system has been running successfully in other parts of the country for several years – including around Leeds – and we’re confident it will deliver safer, smoother and more reliable journeys.”
The M60 is the first of a number of motorway improvements in the area, with an additional £500,000,000 to be invested in 90 miles of lanes on the local network.
Hauliers are recommended to enrol on a smart motorway driving course being offered by Highways England and the Freight Transport Association (FTA) in a bid to make themselves familiar with innovative operations.
The eight hour course covers the past, present and future of smart motorways, the different types of signals, driver behaviour and role of traffic officers under the new rules of the road.
Senior partnership manager at Highways England, Wayne Carey, said:
“Hauliers are among the most frequent users of smart motorways so we want to ensure we are providing as much support as we can to ensure those journeys are as safe as possible."
The introduction of a varying speed limit will reduce congestion and ‘stop-start’ driving conditions.
The automation of cameras along the stretch will also mean that drivers need to keep a look out for altering speed limits as there have been in excess of £8,000,000 in fines issued since work began on the Manchester motorway.
Work on resurfacing the road is due to commence in the near future, reducing the need for further maintenance in the long run. All work is to be undertaken at night to minimise the level of disruption to drivers.
The first of these is these additional projects is on the M62 between Junction 10 and Junction 12, which links the M6 near Warrington to the M60 near Eccles. Work will commence later this month with additional schemes planned.