A smart motorway from Huddersfield and Leeds to Manchester will not be finished until 2022, much to the dismay of local councils.
The modernisation of a 17-mile stretch of the M62 and M60 between Sale and Rochdale is already under way, and aims to reduce congestion and improve journey times.
Costing £202 million, the project will see hard shoulder converted into a fourth lane in a bid to ease traffic flow.
But authorities in the region are concerned that the time it takes to complete the work will actually lead to more delays for drivers.
A 50mph limit on the Sale-Rochdale section is already causing problems, while further enforced speed limits are expected to do the same.
Councillor Richard Farnell, of Rochdale Council, has criticised the disruption the work is likely to cause.
He admits the work is necessary, describing the M62 as a "nightmare" at peak times, but says things could get worse before they get better.
Highways England insists disruption will be kept to a minimum, claiming journeys will be less congested when the work is completed.
Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.