Consultation opens on £283m M62 smart motorway scheme between junction 20 and 25

The M62 from Scammonden looking towards Manchester where the smart motoway system will be introduced.
The M62 from Scammonden looking towards Manchester where the smart motoway system will be introduced.

A consultation has now opened on a £283m smart motorway system set to be introduced on the M62 between junctions 20 and 25.

Highways England is inviting members of the public to share their views on the proposals to introduce variable mandatory speed limits to the planned M62 smart motorway between junctions at Rochdale and Brighouse.

As part of improvements planned for this scheme, variable mandatory speed limits will be used to manage traffic speeds with the aim of helping to reduce congestion, whilst enabling the safe operation of the motorway.

The cost of the scheme is £283.2 million but could rise as high as £392.3 million.

The consultation has opened today and will close on September 26 2019.

Highways England plan to start advanced works by the end of September 2019.

These advanced works will include strengthening the hard shoulder and removing vegetation from the verge between junctions 20 and 25.

Why is the scheme needed?

Highways England says the M62 is the only east-west motorway spanning the north of England.

Running between Merseyside and Yorkshire through Cheshire and Lancashire, it serves as both a regional route for longer distance trips and as an important inter-urban route between the Manchester and Leeds city regions.

The Government’s Northern Powerhouse strategy identified a need for improved east-west major road links to ensure better and more reliable journey times between the major cities within the north.

The M62 junction 20 to 25 smart motorway is approximately 19 miles long, running through a rural Pennine landscape that contains the highest point on a motorway in England.

Highways England said this high altitude increases the risk of disruption caused by severe weather.

The gradients on approach to the summits are around four per cent 1:25), which creates the risk of congestion caused by slow moving or broken-down vehicles.

the Agency says Traffic flows on this part of the network exceed capacity during peak periods leading to congestion. Smart motorways will provide 33 per cent additional capacity on the most congested sections of this route.