AN M6 junction near Wigan will be closed this weekend as a £4.1 million project to reduce congestion and improve safety nears its completion.
The Highways Agency scheme at junction 26 of the M6, which links the motorway to the M58 and A577, will see an extra lane added to the northbound side of the link road between the M6 and the A577 Orrell Road.
We would like to thank drivers for their patience so far and hope they will appreciate the need for this weekend’s closuresPhilip Tyrrell
An extra lane is also being added to the end of the southbound exit slip road from the M6, and new traffic lights will be installed at the roundabout to the east of the M6 junction, known as Orrell Interchange. Sensors will be used to monitor the number of vehicles approaching the roundabout from each direction to improve the flow of traffic.
Contractors need to close the junction this weekend to lay new road surfaces, install reflective road studs and paint the white lines.
The junction will be closed from 10pm on Friday 13 March until 5am on Monday 16 March, although the northbound entry and exit slip roads linking the M6 to the M58 will remain open at all times. The main carriageways on both motorways will also be open as normal.
The southbound entry and exit slip roads on the M6 will be closed for the entire weekend. It will also not be possible for local traffic to use the junction, as the roundabout to the east of it and the link road to the A577 will be closed. Diversions will be in place.
Philip Tyrrell, Project Manager at the Highways Agency, said: “This project will cut congestion at one of busiest motorway junctions in the country and we’re now at the stage where we can lay the new road surface. We need to close the junction for the weekend to carry out this work, although the main carriageways on both the M6 and M58 will remain open as normal.
“Anyone who regularly uses the junction will know how busy it can get at peak times, with traffic often queuing to get onto the M58. The extra lane on the link road to the A577, new traffic lights and improvements to the southbound exit slip road will have a significant impact on people’s journeys.
“We would like to thank drivers for their patience so far and hope they will appreciate the need for this weekend’s closures, as part of a scheme that will bring significant long-term benefits for both the local and regional economy.”
The M6 project at Orrell is one of 121 in the Government’s £300 million ‘pinch-point’ initiative – a two year programme of targeted work being carried out alongside larger schemes and routine maintenance and improvements on motorways and major A roads.
The pinch-point programme, devised with the input of councils and local enterprise partnerships, is designed to help stimulate new development and local economic growth by improving road safety and tackling congestion bottlenecks. In all, 30 projects, worth £66 million, are taking place across the North West.
The £4.1 million scheme at Orrell Interchange is due to be completed by the end of March. More details are available at www.highways.gov.uk/roads/road-projects/m6-junction-26-eastbound-roundabout-orrell.