An extra lane opened today on each carriageway of the M56 between Altrincham and Hale as an £85million smart motorway upgrade took another step towards completion.
The improvements are designed to speed up journey times and increase reliability for the tens of thousands of drivers who use the route daily.
National Highways lifted the traffic cones and barriers on the upgrade at 6am between junction 6 for Hale Barns and junction 8 at Bowdon.
The section will run at a maximum of 60mph, with other interim safety measures in place, until work to calibrate technology, including stopped vehicle detection, is completed.
The upgrade is then expected to fully open, with the 70mph maximum national speed limit restored, early this spring. Some overnight work to resurface lanes along both carriageways will start shortly after.
The project began in March 2020 and, alongside adding an extra lane in both the eastbound and westbound carriageways, has involved providing extra technology and safety enhancements, including stopped vehicle detection.
Stopped vehicle detection uses radar technology to alert National Highways’ control centre operators who can then close lanes with a Red X signal, display speed limits and deploy traffic officers.
Temporary additional CCTV from the roadworks and a free recovery service will remain in place alongside the new permanent systems during the technology commissioning period. Drivers will also be able to use any of the four new emergency areas if they need to stop in an emergency.