New M56 lane will remove slip road “problem” at Altrincham junction

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A new lane designed to ease congestion on the M56 near Altrincham will be open by the end of March.

The Highways Agency revealed today that work on the £4.2 million project has begun, marking further good news for drivers in the area after yesterday’s confirmation of the £102m bypass near Bowdon.

The new lane will run for approximately one mile from where the eastbound entry slip road joins the motorway at junction 7, and will remove the need for drivers to quickly merge with other traffic. The extra lane will replace the hard shoulder for a short section.

Narrow lanes and a temporary 50mph speed limit are currently in place on the eastbound side of the motorway, and some overnight lane and carriageway closures will be required later in the project. The closures will take place between 10pm and 5am, and diversions will be in place.

Phil Tyrrell, project manager at the Highways Agency, said: “Anyone who uses the junction near Altrincham to get onto the M56 will have experienced the problem for themselves, with traffic regularly queuing a long way down the slip road.

“The new extra lane will remove the need for motorists to quickly merge onto the motorway. It should also improve the general flow of traffic for everyone as drivers won’t need to brake to allow people to change lanes.

“We need to have narrow lanes and a temporary speed limit in place while this work takes place for the safety of our workers and the public. When the new lane opens, I’m sure drivers will notice the difference it makes.”

The project is among 123 in the government’s £317 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 is designed to help stimulate new development and local economic growth by improving road safety and tackling congestion bottle necks. In all, 28 projects worth £66million are taking place across the North West.

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