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Tue November 24 2020

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Smart motorway conversion planned for Manchester

8 Nov 13 The Highways Agency is planning to start work next summer on the northwest’s first ‘smart’ motorway scheme.

Between £190m and £267m will be spent on installing 300 electronic signs and 50 CCTV cameras on the M60 and M62 in Greater Manchester. The cameras will monitor traffic flow from the Highways Agency’s Regional Control Centre at Newton-le-Willows in Merseyside; the signs will display mandatory speed limits, which will change according to traffic flow.

The scheme will be introduced on a 17-mile stretch of the network between Junction 8 of the M60 near Sale and Junction 20 of the M62 near Rochdale.

The hard shoulder will also be permanently converted into an extra lane on a five-mile stretch of the M62 between Junctions 18 and 20 to provide extra capacity on the part of the motorway which links the North West to Yorkshire.

The Highways Agency is also analysing the environmental impact of increasing lane capacity between Junctions 8 and 15 of the M60, which is currently made up of two and three-lane carriageways. This could include converting the hard shoulder to an extra lane.

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Highways Agency senior project manager Jacqui Allen said:  “It may seem odd that reducing speed limits can also reduce journey times, but evidence shows that it does exactly that. By encouraging everyone to drive at similar speeds, it brings an end to the stop-start conditions most motorists will have experienced during busy times.

“Converting the hard shoulder to an extra lane on the section of the M62 between Junctions 18 and 20 will also provide much-needed additional capacity, increasing the number of lanes on each side of the motorway from three to four.”

Subject to the completion of statutory processes, the Highways Agency is hoping to have contractors start work next summer and complete in 2016/17.

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