M56 smart motorway upgrade to bring in speed limits between Hale and Bowdon junctions until 2022

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An £85million upgrade of the M56 between the Hale Barns and Bowdon junctions will begin later this month, bringing with it over a year of speed limits and lane closures.

The four-mile section of motorway between junctions 6 and 8 – which usually carries 100,000 vehicles a day – is being transformed in a bid to tackle congestion and provide more reliable journeys for city centre commuters and those travelling to Manchester Airport.

As part of the project, an extra running lane will be added to both the westbound and eastbound carriageways, technology will be installed to manage vehicles and four emergency areas will provide refuge in the event of break downs or other emergencies.

Once the work gets underway later this month, a contraflow system will be in operation from the start, which is intended to reduce the number of carriageway or full motorway closures needed during construction.

To install the contraflow there will be one full, 10pm to 6am, closure of the eastbound carriageway on Friday 13th November, followed on Monday 23rd November by a single overnight closure of the westbound carriageway.

A speed limit of 50mph will operate through the roadworks backed by average speed cameras.

Highways England project manager Clare Bond said: “The start of the main construction work is a significant milestone for this project which will ease congestion and make journeys more reliable once it opens to drivers in 2022.

“This is one of the busiest sections of motorway in the North West but using the contraflow system during construction will allow us to keep all the motorway lanes open during the day with occasional overnight lane and carriageway closures.”

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