Traffic signals to be installed on link roads to fight jams

Traffic signals to be installed on link roads to fight jams
One of Britain’s most congested motorway intersections could soon see its traffic eased with the installation of new lights.

Highways England is launching a multi-million-pound trial on the link road between the M6 and M62 motorways.

The system hopes to minimise queuing at junction 21 in Warrington and reduce tailbacks on the M6.

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The initiative forms part of a £7 million project to alleviate motorway congestion, part of Highways England’s £150 million innovation fund.

The plans come amid a surge in motorway traffic, and official figures that say vehicles have travelled 68 billion miles on motorways in the year ending in June.

As well as the new traffic signals, the Government agency is installing variable speed limits on the M62, aiming “to provide smoother traffic flows”.

Andy Withington, Highways England’s programme delivery manager for the north-west, says: “This is an opportunity to combine existing technology and traffic management systems in a novel way to see whether we can give drivers using the frequently congested eastbound M62 lower journey times during peak hours, and smoother, more reliable journeys.”

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At present, traffic lights are installed on slip roads to maintain the flow of motorway traffic. This initiative will mark the first time signals are to be used on a motorway link road.

He added: “The key aim of the project is to test the novel technology introduced through this pilot project and tackle congestion at peak travel times, especially during the morning rush ho

RAC roads spokesman Nicholas Lyes says: "We welcome Highways England's emphasis on trialling new ways to improve traffic flow, and the use of variable speed limits has already been successful in smoothing flow on smart motorways.

“However, link roads are a different kettle of fish and the risk is that using traffic lights will simply back-up vehicles onto the motorway carriageway from which the traffic is exiting. Much will depend on how these lights are sequenced.”

Responding to potential concerns, Mr Withington says the link road traffic signals won’t be in use all the time, being limited to morning rush hour.

Copyright Press Association 2017. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.