M60 Smart Motorway now fully open in Greater Manchester

The M60 smart motorway in Greater Manchester is now fully operational according to Highways England, motorists can now enjoy the region’s first smart motorway.

As well as an extra running lane in each direction on the M62 between junction 18 and junction 20, intensive extra technology, such as CCTV cameras and electronic signs, have been provided along both the M60 and M62 sections.

Variable mandatory speed limits are guiding traffic along the motorway at steady speeds – tackling congestion and frustrating stop-start driving conditions.

smart motorway

Highways England Jonathan Stokes (senior project manager) said:

“Going ‘live’ marks the most significant milestone for this project. We would like to thank users of the M60 and M62 and people living around them for their patience and support over the last few years while we have worked to deliver this vital investment in what is an almost uniquely complex environment.”

“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 removal of narrow lanes and completion of the project now paves the way for key sections of the M60 to be resurfaced with the program of overnight resurfacing and bridge maintenance set to begin at the end of August.

This is part of Highways England’s £100 million investment in maintenance work across the North West.

The resurfacing will reduce the need for further maintenance, meaning less disruption in the long run.

All work is taking place at night to minimise disruption to drivers.

The first phase of this work will begin later this month and involves resurfacing between junctions 15 and 12 and between junctions 10 and 12.

Some overnight closures will be required.

With the first smart motorway in the North West now in operation (M60 Smart Motorway), drivers are being encouraged to think about how to make the best of the new system with guidance available.

How to drive on a Smart Motorway

How long has it taken to complete the M60 Smart Motorway

15 June 2016

The latest phase of a major project to tackle congestion and improve journey times on the M60 and M62 is due to start on Tuesday 14 June.

Contractors for Highways England will begin work 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.

M60 Smart Motorway 21 December 2017

The electronic signs on the section between M60 J8-10 are now in use.

M60 Smart Motorway 10 January 2018

The electronic signs are now in use on the M62 section, between J18 and J20. The hard shoulder on this stretch also opened to traffic just before Christmas – but the whole scheme is still restricted to 50mph at all times while finishing works and testing takes place.

M60 Smart Motorway 14 January 2018

On the M60 between J10 and J14, the narrow lanes have been reconfigured, and barrier work appears to be taking place.

M60 Smart Motorway 22 March 2018

All work on M60 J8-J10 (including testing) now appears to be complete and the 50mph speed limit has been removed, bringing this section into full Smart Motorway use, with variable speed limits operating as traffic demands.

M60 Smart Motorway 24 May 2018

New gantry signs and signals are gradually being installed between j10 and j18, and new concrete central reservation barriers are being built, especially around j13. These works mean another series of overnight closures.

Meanwhile M62 j20-18 and M60 j8-10 have both been fully operating as Smart Motorways for 2 months.

M60 Smart Motorway 28 May 2018

Many gantries are now complete, with electronic signs fitted. Narrow lanes have been lifted on the Clockwise carriageway between J15 and J17. The scheme visually appears to be nearing completion.

M60 Smart Motorway 29 July 2018

Narrow lanes have been lifted from the entire stretch. All gantries and VMS are now complete and functioning. On the M60 between J10 and J18 the VMS are displaying a 50 mph speed limit. Also an improvement has been made the the clockwise J18 exit slip.

M60 Smart Motorway August 2018

Highways England have now announced the completion of this scheme.

Smart Motorway History

The technique was first used in the UK on the M42 motorway in the West Midlands in 2006.

A higher speed limit of 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) was trialed on the southbound carriageway between junctions 4 and 3A from 2008 (a 10 miles per hour (16 km/h) increase on the previous maximum permissible speed).

In 2007 plans were announced to extend the scheme to two sections of the M6 near Birmingham (4-5 and 8a-10) by 2011 for £150 million.

The emergency refuges were to be extended to every 800 metres (0.50 mi) on the roll out.

A study into the use of ATM on the M1, M4, M20 and M25 motorways was also announced, however the Department for Transport had decided to proceed with a scheme to widen sections of the M25.

In March 2012 the government indicated that it was considering a trial of higher 80 mph speed limit on some Smart Motorways although proposals for higher speeds on motorways were met with caution on a number of grounds by both motoring and road safety organisations.

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