Second stage of managed motorway activated

Extreme measure: Is the 50mph limit on the M62 too slow?
Extreme measure: Is the 50mph limit on the M62 too slow?

Work to upgrade part of the M62 through West Yorkshire to a managed motorway took another step forward last night (Tuesday) when electronic signs on a second section were activated.

At 7pm last night, the overhead electronic signs – displaying variable mandatory speed limits and lane closure information – came into operation between junction 26 (Chain Bar) and junction 27 (Gildersome).

For the safety of road users and road workers, the signs will remain constantly illuminated with a maximum mandatory speed limit of 50mph until final works on this section are completed later in the summer. The speed limit may be reduced during busy periods, if needed, to help maintain traffic flow.

Drivers are also advised that the hard shoulder on this section remains coned off and is not yet available for use as a traffic lane. The Highways Agency intends to open the hard shoulder on this section in the coming weeks, initially on a trial basis, and more details will be announced nearer the time.

The first section, between junctions 27 and 28, came into operation as a managed motorway in May following successful completion of testing.

Highways Agency project manager David Pilsworth said: “By activating the signs along this stretch now, we will be able to manage traffic flows and incidents more effectively while we complete the final stages of work on this section. Once this work is finished, we will then start to introduce hard shoulder running, initially on a trial basis, before it becomes fully operational later in the summer.

“The remaining sections of the managed motorway will be opened in a similar approach over the summer, with all work due to be fully completed on schedule by the autumn.

“As work is continuing elsewhere on the scheme, it is vital that drivers continue to take extra care, obey the maximum 50mph speed limit and follow the signs when travelling through the works.”

When the scheme, between junctions 25 (Brighouse) and 30 (Rothwell) is completed later this year, the managed motorway will use variable mandatory speed limits, enforced by overhead safety cameras, and the hard shoulder will be available as an extra running lane in order to cut congestion and make journey times more reliable. The signs will also be 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.

The team behind the project are also celebrating after winning an award last week from the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation. The national awards celebrate best practice and innovation in road projects around the country, and the M62 contractors bmJV scooped the Health and Safety at Work award for its ‘zero crossings’ initiative, which uses technology and remote-controlled signs to ensure that road workers on the M62 do not have to cross the live carriageway. The initiative has saved more than 45,000 crossings of the carriageway to date.