Contractors for Highways England need to close short stretches of the motorway to install temporary narrow lanes on the M60 between junctions 15 (M61 interchange) and 18 (M66/M62 interchange), and to remove supporting posts for overhead gantries on the M62 between junctions 19 (Heywood) and 20 (Rochdale).
The 40 metre wide gantries, which spanned the width of the motorway and each weighed 130 tonnes, were removed before Christmas as part of the smart motorway project which will see the hard shoulder permanently converted to an extra lane between junctions 18 and 20 of the M62.
When the smart motorway goes live, variable speed limits will be used along the route to keep traffic moving. The temporary narrow lanes between junctions 15 and 18 of the M60 will allow engineers to install technology at the side of the motorway needed to monitor the flow of traffic.
The narrow lanes will mean 4 lanes can be kept open in each direction while also providing additional space at the side of the motorway so that work can be carried out safely.
Highways England’s project manager, Paul Hampson, said:
The smart motorway scheme is a major upgrade to tackle congestion and reduce journey times. The extra lane on the M62 will increase capacity between the North West and Yorkshire, and the variable limit will tackle stop-start conditions by keeping vehicles moving.
We’re doing everything we can to keep disruption to a minimum by closing short stretches of the motorway overnight when traffic levels are at their lowest. The narrow lanes will allow us to keep 4 lanes open in each direction without the need for lane closures.
They’ll be clearly signed diversions in place when sections of the motorway are closed and we’re encouraging drivers who intend to travel overnight to plan their journeys in advance.
The anticlockwise side of the M60 will be closed overnight between junctions 18 and 17 on Monday 11 January, and between junctions 17 and 14 on Tuesday 12 January. The clockwise carriageway will then be closed overnight between junctions 14 and 17 on Wednesday 13 January, and between junctions 17 and 18 on Thursday 14 January.
The M62 will also be closed overnight in both directions between junctions 19 and 20 on Saturday 9 and Saturday 16 January. All of the closures will take place between 10pm and 6am, with clearly-signed diversions in place.
The £202 million smart motorway scheme between junction 8 of the M60 near Sale and junction 20 of the M62 near Rochdale will see the latest technology being used to monitor traffic levels and keep vehicles moving.
When the scheme is completed in autumn 2017, around 200 new electronic message signs on overhead gantries will warn drivers of changes in the mandatory speed limit, lane closures and incidents ahead.