Four-mile stretch of M56 between Hale Barns and Bowdon to be turned into four-lane smart motorway

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A four-mile stretch of the M56 between Hale Barns and Bowdon is to be turned into a four-lane smart motorway as part of a £62million upgrade beginning in the new year.

The work – which involves the stretch between junction 6 (Marriott Hotel Hale Barns) and and junction 8 at Bowdon – is designed to ease rush-hour congestion and will be open by spring 2020.

Two public information events in Altrincham are to shed more light on the plans later this month.

The work on this section, which carries in excess of 100,000 vehicles a day, will see the hard shoulder converted into an extra lane in both directions with technology installed to improve traffic flows.

The scheme will also include the upgrade and the installation of sign and signal gantries, the construction of emergency areas and introduction of new concrete barriers.

Part of the M60 in Manchester has already been converted into a smart motorway

Motorists will inevitably face disruption during the work, which is expected to last around 14-15 months. Construction company Galliford Try has won the contract to carry out the work.

The public information events will include details of next year’s construction phase and how the system will operate once it has opened.

Highways England project manager Clare Bond said: “These information events will be an excellent opportunity for anyone with an interest in the project to come and talk to us, have a look at the plans, discuss what we are planning in terms of traffic management and find out a bit more about how a smart motorway will operate.

“Smart motorways are designed to improve journey times and make journeys more reliable and less frustrating – and this is an important investment to tackle congestion along one of the most important sections of the M56 helping to provide a link between the M6 and Manchester Airport and the city itself.”

The public information events are being held at the following locations and dates:

  • Marriott Hotel, Manchester Airport, Hale Road, Hale Barns, WA15 8XW, 2pm to 8pm Friday 21 September
  • St Peter’s Assembly Rooms, 136 Cecil Road, Hale, WA15 9NU, 10am to 3pm, Saturday 22 September

Anyone unable to attend an event can get further information – and sign up for regular updates – at a dedicated webpage here.

The M56 upgrade is the latest in a series of smart motorways schemes being carried out in the North West, including a £130m scheme on the M6, running between Crewe and Knutsford.

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