The technology went live on Tuesday 31 July 2018 on the final M60 section between junction 10 and junction 18, meaning that the whole of the motorway between junction 8 of the M60 at Sale and junction 20 of the M62 at Rochdale is fully-operational.
As well as an extra running lane in each direction along the M62 between junction 18 and junction 20, extra technology such as CCTV cameras and electronic signs have been provided along both M60 and M62 sections.
Variable mandatory speed limits are guiding traffic along the motorway at steady speeds, which is hoped will tackle congestion and stop-start driving conditions.
The removal of narrow lanes and completion of the project now paves the way for key sections of the M60 to be resurfaced – with the programme of overnight resurfacing and bridge maintenance set to begin later this month.
Highways England senior project manager Jonathan Stokes, said: ‘Going ‘live’ this week marks the most significant milestone for this project.
‘We would like to thank users of the M60 and M62 and people living around them for their patience and support over the last few years while we have worked to deliver this vital investment in what is an almost uniquely complex environment.
‘Although this is the first smart motorway in the North West the system has been running successfully in other parts of the country for several years – including around Leeds – and we’re confident it will deliver safer, smoother and more reliable journeys.’
Four more smart motorway improvements – worth £500 million and delivering 90 miles of extra lanes to the local motorway network – are also due to be constructed during the next few years.
The first of these – the M62 junction 10 to junction 12 project which will link the M6 near Warrington to the M60 near Eccles – is due to start later this month while M56 (junctions 6 to 8), M6 (junctions 21a to 26) and M62 (junctions 20 to 25) schemes are also planned.