Smart motorway works planned on M6 this spring now delayed

A smart motorway
A smart motorway
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Work to change the M6 in the region into a “smart” motorway has been delayed.

Highways England has changed the timing of some of its roadworks, with the scheme between junctions 21A at Croft and 26 at Orrell no longer starting this spring.

A new date has not been announced, but it is one of several major projects whose start dates will be staggered between 2020 and 2025.

The government company says it has changed its schedule following feedback from road users to help reduce the impact of the roadworks.

A similar scheme on the M56 near Manchester Airport was also delayed until spring 2020, once work on the M62 near Warrington has finished.

Mike Bull, Highways England’s smart motorways programme manager for the North West, said: “Hundreds of thousands of people across the North West will benefit from a huge investment on the road network over the next few years and we’re keen to help keep drivers moving while the upgrades take place.

“We’ve listened to what people have been telling us about roadworks and have decided to reschedule two major schemes, benefitting drivers who use our roads to get to work and businesses who deliver goods across the region. We’re committed to the upgrades; we are simply changing the timetable for projects on the M56 and M6.

“We’re also reviewing how we carry out major upgrades so that we can minimise disruption as much as possible and maintain connections for drivers using the road network.”

The work will see extra lanes and better technology added to the M6 and follows major projects already completed on the M62 and M60.

Highways England has also set out plans to improve how smart motorway projects are carried out in future.

They include changes to the layout of roadworks to reduce the need for overnight diversions and so schemes can be finished sooner.

Temporary speed limits will be increased to 60mph when it is safe and three lanes will be maintained in each direction during the day.