Greater Manchester’s smart motorway scheme on parts of the M60 and M62 is on track to start next month, following the appointment of the main contractor.
The Highways Agency has signed a £184 million deal with infrastructure firm Balfour Beatty to oversee the smart motorway scheme on a 17-mile stretch of the network between junction 8 of the M60 near Sale and junction 20 of the M62 near Rochdale.
The latest technology will be installed to monitor traffic levels, provide traffic information to road users, and ease congestion by using variable speed limits on overhead message signs.
The hard shoulder will also be permanently converted into an extra lane on a five-mile stretch of the M62 between junctions 18 and 20 to provide extra capacity on the part of the motorway which links the North West to Yorkshire.
Balfour Beatty will lead the project, overseeing the work of three other delivery partners – Costain, Carillion and a BAM Morgan Sindall Joint Venture.
Roads Minister Robert Goodwill said: “This £208 million scheme is part of the record £24 billion investment we are making in the road network over this Parliament and the next to support economic growth.
“It will tackle the congestion and unpredictable journey times that users of the M60 and M62 experience every day, which costs the economy some £2 billion a year. It is also good news for the construction industry as more than a thousand jobs will be created to help deliver these vital improvements.”
Balfour Beatty executive chairman, Steve Marshall said: “We have been working with the Highways Agency for twenty years and look forward to building on that successful relationship.
“This scheme will benefit the 180,000 road users that pass through this section of the motorway network every day. We are committed to lead this project in a collaborative way with our partners, employing local people and businesses in our supply chain.”
Once completed, in autumn 2017, more than 200 new electronic signs on the M60 and M62 will warn drivers of changes in the mandatory speed limit, lane closures, and incidents ahead.
Around 24 new CCTV cameras will also be used to monitor traffic levels from the Highways Agency’s Regional Control Centre at Newton-le-Willows in Merseyside.
Emergency refuge areas will be created on this section of motorway with overhead signs used to alert motorists of lane closures and incidents ahead, clearing lanes to allow emergency vehicles to get through.