It will be the hi-tech motorway connecting Huddersfield and Leeds all the way to Manchester.

But transport bosses say the modernisation of the M62 into a four-lane ‘smart motorway’ won't be finished until 2022.

Work is already under way on a 17-mile stretch of the M62 and M60 between Sale and Rochdale - as part of a project costing £202m to improve traffic flow and converting the hard shoulder into a fourth lane.

Smart motorways are planned for the north-west

And after work began, transport bosses announced plans for a further extension, beginning in March 2020, to modernise the remaining sections of the M62, linking Greater Manchester’s M62 upgrade into the already completed Brighouse-to-Leeds Smart section.

Currently drivers on the Sale-Rochdale section have been battling with a 50mph limit, which will remain in force until the scheme’s completion in Autumn 2017.

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But Transport for the North - the body in charge of driving forward our rail and road investment - insists the remaining 28 miles left to connect the two cities will take ‘approximately two years’ and cost £250m.

Starting before March 2020, it will run the 19 miles from Rochdale to Brighouse and the nine miles between junctions 10 and 12.

M62 Rochdale to Huddersfield in two minutes

Video thumbnail, The journey to Huddersfield along the M62
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Coun Richard Farnell, Rochdale Council leader, said it was needed - but slammed the disruption works are likely to cause.

He said: “It’s a good idea in principle. We’ve got to do something to relieve congestion, it’s a nightmare trying to travel around the M62 at peak times.

“You only need the slightest accident and the motorway gets closed, there are huge tailbacks and traffic gets diverted causing gridlock in our town centres.

“My only criticism is they take too long and we need a smarter way of doing it – when I drive along the M60 now I hardly ever seen anybody working on it.

A motorist ignoring a red X lane closure on a smart motorway

“In Japan they rebuilt an earthquake-hit motorway in eight weeks – for heaven’s sake, can’t we be smarter and quicker? This work will damage our economies and the cities along the route.”

Jeremy Bloom, Highways England major projects director for the north, said there would be some disruption but it would be kept to a minimum. When the schemes are completed, he said, journeys will be less congested.

The plan is included in the latest report from Transport for the North, launched today.

John Cridland, chairman, said: “Our vision to rebalance the economy will greatly benefit residents of the north and the United Kingdom as a whole. Looking to the future we’ll build on our research, which is underpinned by the first Independent Economic Review for the North, to devise a prioritised investment programme.”