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Next phase of work begins on M56 upgrade

The second phase of National Highways’ £85 million upgrade of the M56 will get underway next month.

The four-mile section of motorway between junction 6 at Hale and junction 8 at Bowdon is one of the busiest in the North West, carrying 100,000 vehicles a day. As well as installing technology to help provide smoother journeys, National Highways, formerly Highways England, is busy converting the hard shoulders to add an extra running lane to both the westbound and eastbound carriageways.

The four-mile section of motorway between junction 6 at Hale and junction 8 at Bowdon is one of the busiest in the North West, carrying 100,000 vehicles a day. As well as installing technology to help provide smoother journeys, National Highways, formerly Highways England, is busy converting the hard shoulders to add an extra running lane to both the westbound and eastbound carriageways.

The project was due to be completed next spring – but National Highways says that in line with promises it has made to the Government and Transport Select Committee stopped vehicle detection (SVD) technology will now be added to the road before the new lanes can open.

National Highways M56 motorway upgrade project manager Clare Bond said:

“Good progress is being made on this upgrade and we are committed to implementing the recommendations of the Government stocktake before the scheme opens fully. This means it will include stopped vehicle detection technology.

“We’re grateful for everyone’s patience while we complete this work, and we expect the upgrade to be fully open next autumn.”

A new central reservation concrete safety barrier, technology to help manage traffic and low noise surfacing will have been installed months before the extra lanes open to drivers though so motorway users will be able to benefit from smoother and safer journeys by the end of next year.

Work is taking place next month (October) to install traffic management to allow the conversion of the westbound hard shoulder to start. A contraflow arrangement used during phase one will be switched – carrying one lane of westbound traffic along one of the eastbound lanes of the motorway. The hard shoulder along the eastbound carriageway will be in use as the eastbound lane one complete with new, lower noise surfacing.

This section of the M56 is part of the important corridor between Manchester and Manchester Airport and the Midlands. The extra running lane on each carriageway will tackle congestion and provide more reliable journeys for city centre commuters and businesses as well as tourists and workers using the airport. Technology is also being installed to manage vehicles through the upgraded motorway - providing smoother journeys – and four emergency areas will provide a place to stop in the event of break downs or other emergencies.

Once the westbound hard shoulder has been converted into a running lane a third project phase will see construction of a concrete central reservation barrier.

To start the second phase of the project there’ll be three successive overnight closures of the eastbound carriageway between junction 7 and junction 5 from Monday 4 October.

Work to switch the contraflow arrangements and start the conversion of the westbound hard shoulder will also require nightly overnight closures of the westbound carriageway – from junction 5 to junction 7 - for most of October from Thursday 7 October.  The M56 junction 5 exit slip for Manchester Airport will remain open.  A diversion using the M60, M62 and M6 will be in place for drivers heading westbound beyond junction 5. 

The latest project newsletter has recently been published and National Highways’ feedback tool, ECHO, is also available to users of the M56 for this project. This can be accessed by visiting the following webpage:

https://map.govmetric.com/m56

More information about the M56 motorway upgrade is available on the project webpage.

Pictured - Work in the eastbound carriageway is nearing completion and will switch to the westbound carriageway next month.

 

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