Smart motorway scheme aims to cut congestion


A pilot smart motorway scheme is set to be implemented on the M62 in north-west England in order to cut congestion and improve the efficiency of the highway.

Highways England is set to invest £7 million into the trial, which will take place at the Croft Interchange, where junction 10 of the M62 connects with junction 21a of the M6. It will see solutions including variable speed limits and new electronic information signs on the carriageway implemented, as well as the introduction of traffic lights on link roads from the northbound and southbound M6 to the eastbound M62.

Large sections of the pilot scheme will also form part of the permanent smart motorway set to be implemented between junctions 10 and 12 of the M62. Construction on this is expected to get underway in 2018/19.

Andy Withington, Highways England’s programme delivery manager for the north-west, said the pilot system will be up and running by next summer and its performance will be monitored over the space of a year.

“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,” he said.

If it is successful, similar solutions could be rolled out on other motorway-to-motorway slip roads around the country.

Work during the eight-month construction period is set to take place primarily at night in order to minimise disruption for travellers and, while much of it will take place on the hard shoulder, there are expected to be occasional overnight lane closures in order to complete large work, such as the installation of new overhead gantries.

Highways England also sought to reassure drivers that while there will be traffic lights installed at the end of link roads emerging 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.

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