Work is beginning this month on a £7 million pilot scheme to cut congestion along the M62 near Warrington in Cheshire.
Highways England is delivering the project at Croft Interchange - where junction 21a of the M6 meets junction 10 of the M62 – to give drivers smoother and more reliable journeys along the eastbound M62, one of the busiest commuter congestion hotspots in the region.
From next summer, smart motorway technology, such as electronic information signs and variable mandatory speed limits on the M62, will be used alongside traffic lights on the motorway link roads from the northbound and southbound M6.
Highways England’s programme delivery manager for the North West Andy Withington said: “This is an opportunity to combine existing technology and traffic management systems in a novel way to see whether we can give drivers using the frequently congested eastbound M62 lower journey times during peak hours and smoother, more reliable journeys.
“The system should be up and running by next summer and we will be monitoring its use over a period of up to a year. If it is successful – and we believe it will be – it could well be used on other motorway to motorway slip roads across the country.”
Large elements of the pilot project will also form part of the permanent M62 junction 10 to junction 12 smart motorway system between Warrington and Manchester which is due to start construction during 2018/2019.
Drivers are being reassured that while traffic lights will be installed at the end of the link roads onto the eastbound M62, traffic leaving the M6 will be closely monitored and the lights will be controlled to minimise queuing on the M6 itself.
To minimise disruption to drivers’ journeys, work over the eight month construction period will mainly involve overnight working in the hard shoulder with occasional overnight carriageway closures for large work such as gantry installations.
Money for the project is coming from a £150 million innovation fund, part of the £15 billion allocated to Highways England in the Government’s 2015 to 2020 Road Investment Strategy.
The innovation fund is designed to encourage Highways England to look at new technology or novel techniques to improve journeys.