Work to upgrade part of the M62 through West Yorkshire to a managed motorway is a step closer to completion after electronic signs on the final two sections were activated.
At 10pm last night (Monday), the overhead electronic signs – displaying variable mandatory speed limits and lane closure information – came into operation between junction 28 (Tingley) and junction 30 (Rothwell). Traffic cones and fixed-plate temporary signs were also removed.
For the safety of road users and road workers, the electronic signs will remain constantly illuminated with a maximum mandatory speed limit of 50mph until these sections become fully operational. The speed limit may be reduced during busy periods, if needed, to help maintain traffic flow.
Between junctions 29 (Lofthouse) and 30, the hard shoulder is not yet available as a traffic lane and is illegal to use, unless in an emergency. However, the Highways Agency will be trialling the technology and the use of the hard shoulder as a running lane in the coming weeks - more details will be announced nearer the time.
The section between junctions 28 and 29 features permanent four-lane running (with no hard shoulder) in both directions, and therefore no trials are required. However, the 50mph speed limit will remain in place on this section until trials on the neighbouring section between junctions 29 and 30 are completed.
Highways Agency project manager David Pilsworth said: “Activating the signs on the final two sections is a significant milestone for us, and we are working hard to ensure the scheme is completed in full as soon as possible. Drivers will then be able to start enjoying the benefits of reduced congestion and improved journey times between junction 25 and 30 of the M62 in West Yorkshire.
“We would like to take the opportunity to remind drivers to follow the overhead signs and signals at all times and, regardless of which section they are using, to only use the hard shoulder when it is indicated as an extra lane.”
The first three sections, between junctions 25 and 28, were completed in phases and became fully operational as a managed motorway earlier in the summer. Between these junctions, the hard shoulder may be opened to traffic during peak times (indicated by a speed limit displayed above it and signs next to the motorway displaying a message to use the hard shoulder). If the electronic signs are not illuminated then normal motorway conditions apply (national speed limit and hard shoulder for emergency use only).
Managed motorways use variable mandatory speed limits, enforced by overhead safety cameras, and make the hard shoulder available as an extra running lane in order to cut congestion and make journey times more reliable. The signs are also able to display lane closure information as required, such as a red ‘X’ to advise the lane is closed, or a white arrow advising drivers to move out of a lane.