New M62 system to be tested

M62
M62

The new managed motorway systems on the M62 will be subjected to five days of extended testing between junctions 26 (Chain Bar) and 27 (Gildersome).

The systems will be tested from Wednesday 24 July until Sunday 28 July. During busy periods, operators in the regional control centre in Wakefield will set overhead message signs to tell drivers they can use the hard shoulder as an extra lane and at what speed to drive (via variable mandatory speed limits) to improve traffic flow. Lane closure information (such as a red X) will be displayed as required.

Road users need to follow the signs, and it is important they only use the hard shoulder as a traffic lane when told to by overhead signs and a speed limit being displayed over the hard shoulder. When the hard shoulder is not open to traffic (shown by a red X or a blank signal over the hard shoulder), it is illegal to use, unless in an emergency.

Between junctions 26 and 28 of the M62, if no electronic signs are illuminated then normal motorway conditions apply (national speed limit, hard shoulder for emergency use only).

Where there are still roadworks underway, between junctions 25 to 26 and 28 to 30, then the clearly-signed, 50mph speed limit (enforced with average speed cameras), remains in place. This is for the safety of road users and road workers.

Highways Agency project manager David Pilsworth said: “We would like to thank road users for their patience. Work is ongoing to upgrade the M62, but where we can we are removing roadworks and utilising the managed motorway systems – for the benefit of motorists.

“The M62 between junctions 26 and 27 is the busiest section of our scheme, and we are pleased that drivers will soon start have more capacity and less congestion.

“The extended trial is a significant milestone as we work towards fully opening the scheme, which is on track for completion by the autumn.”

The extended period of testing on this section follows a number of shorter tests carried out earlier this month. These latest tests will allow operators to monitor how the systems work under typical traffic conditions, including during peak periods. If the extended tests are successful, this section is due to become fully operational from Monday 29 July.

Junctions 26 to 27 will be the second section to go live, following successful opening of the first link, between junctions 27 and 28, in May. The third section, between junctions 25 and 26, will feature permanent four-lane running (with no hard shoulder) in both directions and will not require the same level of testing; it is expected that this section will go live in August.

Work on the scheme, between junctions 25 (Brighouse) and 30 (Rothwell) is due to be completed in full later this year.