DRIVERS FACE EXTRA MONTHS OF M60 DELAYS
THE smart motorway project on the M60 and M62 has been delayed – which means the 50mph limit will be in place on some stretches of road until next summer.
Highways bosses have admitted that the roadworks, originally due for completion in December, will take longer than promised.
For motorists who’ve already put up with the works for more than three years, it means more of the same.
While the M62 works between junctions 18 and 20 – Simister Island to Rochdale – were supposed to be completed by this autumn, that deadline’s shifted to December – with three extra months of the 50mph limit.
But the biggest hit will be to drivers on the M60, with the finish date between junctions 10 at the Trafford Centre and 18 at Simister Island delayed until the summer.
That means up to six months more than promised of the 50mph limit.
Highways bosses have said junctions 8 to 10 of the M60, between Sale and Trafford Park, are still on track for December as planned.
They conceded the £208m project, contracted to Balfour Beatty, had taken ‘longer than they’d like’ due to its complexity, keeping lanes open for drivers in the day and ‘other issues’.
These include relocating unexpected utility pipes and extra maintenance work. The delay will not impact any other future works, a spokesman promised.
But an insider on the project told our sister paper the M.E.N.: “It’s been delayed for ages, we all knew it was never going to be finished on time.”
A Highways England spokesman said the Smart Motorway will tackle congestion and improve journey times.
This will be achieved through the conversion of the M62 hard shoulder into an extra lane and around 200 new electronic signs along the entire 17-mile route between Sale and Rochdale to allow variable speed limits based on traffic flow, which will be gauged by sensors.
Jon Stokes, senior project manager at Highways England, said: “We will be able to begin a phased opening of the new smart motorway scheme this autumn – benefiting the 180,000 drivers who use the route every day. When the smart motorway is complete, drivers will be able to travel in an extra lane on the M62 and variable speed limits will keep traffic moving at a steady speed – tackling the stop/ start conditions and tailbacks caused by sudden braking.
“Nearly 600 people are currently working to complete the project and we will open each section along the route as soon as possible.”
The M60 50mph limit continues