THE £150m ‘managed motorway’ project on the M62 will see 36 new overhead gantries installed and 16 more upgraded.
These will be used to control the speed and flow of traffic at busy times – and tell motorists when they can use the hard shoulder to ease congestion.
The reduced speed limits will be policed by fixed-point cameras.
Another frequently heard complaint is that the work is progressing too slowly and that roadworks are often deserted.
But Highways Agency chief David Pilsworth said there were 400 workers on the project covering a 30-mile stretch of motorway.
“For that reason they won’t always be visible,” he said. “Also there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work taking place to install, connect and test the new technology. That makes up more than two-thirds of the total work on the project.”
Mr Pilsworth said the Highways Agency offered a free recovery service to stricken vehicles within the road works – and reached the scene in an average of 18 minutes.
A control room at the agency’s Morley base monitors 74 CCTV cameras.
Mr Pilsworth said the agency also works closely with the emergency services to ensure police, fire appliances and ambulances could reach accident scenes even on congested carriageways.
“We will always do our best to make sure they get through,” he said.
“There is always a debrief after a major incident.
“The emergency services send more vehicles than they need, knowing full well some could get caught in traffic.”
On the positive side, recent congestion has meant that injury accidents on the M62 locally are down by 50% to their lowest level in five years.
“Long may it continue,” said Mr Pilsworth, who added that motorways were still the safest roads around.
The ‘managed motorway’ scheme, based on a successful pilot on the M42 in Birmingham, is 12 months into a two-year scheme.
The Brighouse to Rothwell stretch will be opened in phases from April or May next year with completion set for October.