Smart motorway 'has improved journeys'

Smart motorway 'has improved journeys'

A £316 million smart motorway scheme has succeeded in making a difference to motorists' lives, according to Highways England.

The 15-mile stretch of smart motorway on the M62 in West Yorkshire was completed in 2013.

Highways England says despite traffic levels rising, the four-lane road is speeding up journeys for commuters, saving them an average of 30 minutes each week - the equivalent to more than a day each year.

Technology is used to keep tabs on vehicle volumes with variable speed limits displayed on overhead electronic signs to keep the traffic moving. CCTV, meanwhile, is used to enable officials to shut lanes if necessary and swiftly respond to any incidents.

Highways England's service delivery team leader, Roger Wantling, says putting traffic on to the hard shoulder during busy times and using variable speed limits has cut congestion and kept motorists moving.

As well as shortening journey times, he adds, the scheme has also improved safety on the M62.

The smart motorway runs between junction 30 at Rothwell to the south of Leeds and junction 25 at Brighouse.

Its busiest section - between junction 27, where the M62 joins the M621, and junction 26 at Bradford - is now used by an average of 155,000 vehicles a day, an increase of 6% compared to the total using it before the scheme was implemented.

Chancellor George Osborne has said that work will be carried out to extend the scheme from junction 25 to junction 20 at Rochdale in Lancashire.

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