M62 Web Chat

The first section of managed motorway in the North of England has gone live on part of the M62 in West Yorkshire.  The 2.7 mile (4.5km) section, between junction 27 at Gildersome and junction 28 at Tingley, is now fully operational as a managed motorway.

A man­aged motor­way has two main ele­ments to it: vari­able speed lim­its and hard shoul­der running.  Managed motorways will make jour­neys more reli­able by con­trol­ling traf­fic flows more effec­tively through the use of new technology such as lane specific sig­nals, and dri­ver infor­ma­tion signs.

Drivers on this section of road will see new signs, such as mandatory speed limits that are variable depending on traffic flows.  These signs are indicated by a red ring and will be enforced by digital enforcement cameras.

We have produced an interactive leaflet that explains the different features of a managed motorway.  This can be found on the schemes web pages at www​.highways​.gov​.uk/​m​6​2​y​o​r​k​s​h​i​r​emm.

We also organised a live web chat with project manager David Pilsworth so you could ask questions about the technology behind the managed motorway and how to use the new section.

The archive of the chat can be viewed below.

  • DavidPilsworth

    Hello everyone, David Pilsworth here. Looking forward to answering some of your questions. We'll start off with some that have already been sent into us.
    Have a look at house rules - link above, and information on the scheme is also on our webpage: http://​www​.highways​.gov​.uk/​m​6​2​y​o​r​k​s​h​i​r​emm

  • DavidPilsworth

    Hello Liam, thanks for that question - my first one! The first thing to say is that the system tries to reduce the amount of accidents and collisions and that is what we've seen on the M42 - over 50 per cent reduction in injury accidents.
    What you want to know is what happens if they do occur - if they do occur that is when we use the signs and signals to tell people what to do, or to create any lane to let the emergency services through - through use of the red X over the lanes. We also have an agreed operating procedure with them - so it's been a lot of joined up working.
    You can also see more about this on page 3 of our interactive leaflet - which is here - M62 Junctions 25 to 30 Managed Motorways Interactive Leaflet.

  • Steve Cullen (by email)

    Do you envisage that once the managed motorway is fully operational, traffic will flow even at 50mph from before junction 25 until after junction 26 at say 7am, 7.30am and 8.00am each weekday without coming to a halt? I currently have to pass Brighouse (J25) before 6.45am to avoid delay. (Manchester to Newark daily commuter)

    • DavidPilsworth

      Hi Steve, thanks for your question. The aim of managed motorways and the technology we introduce with use of the hard shoulder as an extra lane, are all about making journey times more reliable for you - adding capacity, easing congestion. e.g. if your journey takes 40 minutes one night, it should take the same the following night.
      So, I can't guarantee what speed you'll be travelling at, as it'll be dependent on conditions, etc, but I can say that your journey will be smoother and how long it takes will be more reliable. With safety improved.

  • DavidPilsworth

    Hi Wayne, your question isn't really scheme or managed motorway related, but happy to let you know that the Highways Agency does try and minimise adjacent working. If you are on a long journey like this, you will come across work carried out at night. You can find out what' roadworks are planned by visiting our website and looking at planned roadworks - http://​www​.highways​.gov​.uk. Thank you.

  • Malcolm Bingham

    David
    I see that we have one section opened, is that running at the national speed limit when not congested or will it stay at 50mph while the other works continue.
    Malcolm Bingham FTA

    • DavidPilsworth

      Hello Malcolm. good to hear from you. For the moment, while we have roadworks either side of this stretch, the maximum will be 50mph (24/7) for safety reasons. When we open link 2 - J26 to J27 - August time - then when the managed motorway system isn't needed, it will be national speed limit.
      We're planning to be fully operational by October, which is obviously good news. If we can do this earlier, we will. Thanks, David.

  • DavidPilsworth

    Hi Claire, the M42 was a pilot scheme, that opened to traffic in 2006. A lot of what was included in that pilot, we have replicated on the M62; however we have developed the concept based on our experience of operating managed motorways around Birmingham, but also for the site specific needs of the M62. As an example, we have permanent running lanes between junction 25 and 26, to give further clarity and safety where the M62 meets the motorway service area - to cope with traffic movements. Our experience from the M42 also allowed us to refine the design to have greater distance between overhead signing and refuge areas. We did this because we knew people could still see the signs ahead with the spacing increased, and reach a refuge in an emergency if needed. Thank you.

  • DavidPilsworth

    Hi Duncan, thanks for this question. We only reduce capacity as a last resort, to ensure that we can safely work on building the new asset. We are working there, but it's not 24/7, as that is appropriate. We are using this area as an access point for our workforce to ensure safety. We will remove this traffic management as soon as we can.

  • DavidPilsworth
  • survindar

    As somebody who has worked building motorways in the past - and the M25, no less - i'm curious about exactly what is being done, and how long it will take ? Our gang back in the day would complete 1 mile of motorway in 3 days, and considering I drive from j25 - j29 between 7.30 and 9am, I have rarely seen men/women at work - does that mean you're nearly finished?

  • DavidPilsworth

    Hello Jack, will take each question in order:
    1) the perception is that there have been lots of accidents since the roadworks started, the evidence is that we are now at the lowest recorded injury accident / severity figures for the last five years. Because we have had to take road space (i.e. the hard shoulder) in order to build the scheme and the need to keep three lanes running, any incident however minor, becomes a live lane incident and caused congestion. We do our best to clear these as quickly as possible, and that includes providing free 24/7 recovery. We aim to get to incidents with 20 minutes and we are bettering that target.
    2) You'll see my reply to Malcolm from the FTA - we're looking at August for that section to the fully up and running.

  • DavidPilsworth

    Hello Ian, we're no longer testing the system on junctions 27-28, it's fully operational except for the 24/7 50mph limit which is place until further sections go live. The speed limits displayed are mandatory, i.e. enforceable, and this is the element of control that is so important to the scheme to smooth the flow of traffic and keep it moving. When we are running the hard shoulder, during congestion times, it'll run at a maximum of 60mph. The interactive PDF on our website, is a useful document to also have a look at: http://​www​.highways​.gov​.uk/​p​u​b​l​i​c​a​t​i​o​n​s​/​m​6​2​-​j​u​n​c​t​i​o​n​s​-​2​5​-​t​o​-​3​0​-​m​a​n​a​g​e​d​-​m​o​t​o​r​w​a​y​s​-​i​n​t​e​r​a​c​t​i​v​e​-​l​e​a​f​l​et/

    • ian

      Thank you. If it is fully operational, then why are the average speed cameras still in place between those junctions and not marked as out of use in the meantime? They must be expensive to rent and support with the ongoing comms costs. Whilst their costs would be mitigated by fines revenue, that revenue would be being collected anyway via the gantry enforcement system so it is probably an unnecessary expense.

      • DavidPilsworth

        Hi Ian, we're in the process of phasing them out - we will do this as more sections go live. The Highways Agency receives no revenue from any fines as a result of anyone speeding through the roadworks. We would much prefer no one received a fine, as the average speed cameras are there to protect our workforce and you.

  • DavidPilsworth

    Hello, this is not the experience of running similar systems up and down the country. Adding capacity and smoothing flow of traffic eases congestion and improves safety. So when you join the M62 in the future you will have extra capacity during the busiest periods. This should improve your journey - it's all about more reliable journey times, not speeding them up.

  • DavidPilsworth

    Hi Nick, we're working towards October - if we can do faster, we will. Keep up to date on progress by registering on our scheme page.

  • DavidPilsworth

    Hi Nick, good question. Yes we have looked at this, in some detail. Unfortunately we have more than one lane's worth of HGVs, so banning them from current middle lane is not an option. I think you might mean the A42, as that is only two lanes and I believe there is a incline there.

  • DavidPilsworth

    Stewart, hello. We now have the first link open, and by August we have the busiest section - junction 25 to 28 - fully opened, with the last two links open by October. You will have also noticed that most of the narrow lanes have also disappeared, as we work towards completion.

  • Survindar

    Considering j26-27 east side (Bradford and Ikea) is - and has always been - the most common place where the congestion starts, what do you intend to do to relieve this? Are you going to make more lanes, more managed approach from the slip road, maybe traffic lights?

    • DavidPilsworth

      Survindar, hello again. My final response to today's chat. This is not a traditional scheme, so there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. We have had more than 2,500 people working on the scheme, and at any one time the maximum number has been 450 workers, over a 15 mile stretch, on both sides of the M62. The good news in, we're in the final stages now, and you'll see my responses about when other sections go live. The whole point of this scheme is to tackle congestion, adding capacity (through the hard shoulder being used by traffic - that includes on the section between junctions 26 and 27, our busiest link) and smoothing traffic flow too by using variable speed limits.

  • DavidPilsworth

    Hello Geoff, October is when we'll be fully operational as a managed motorway from junctions 25 to 30. We'll be doing this in phases. You can keep up to date on the progress of the scheme, by registering on our website.

  • DavidPilsworth

    Hello everyone - a lot of you are asking when the scheme will be completed. You'll see some of my responses below, but a quick answer is, October; however you will see lots and lots of changes over the coming months and we introduce the managed motorway in phases. But if we can get the whole scheme fully operational earlier than that, then we will.

  • DavidPilsworth

    Hi Survindar, the M62 is very busy route, as you know, and has been severely congested for many years. We've kept three lanes running through the scheme, each way, during the day, and done our best to limit disruption while we deliver these much needed improvements. As you'll see from my post below, a lot of people are asking when we'll be finished - a quick answer is October; however you
    will see lots and lots of changes over the coming months and we
    introduce the managed motorway in phases. But if we can get the whole
    scheme fully operational earlier than that, then we will.

  • DavidPilsworth

    Hi Malcolm, see my earlier response to you. Thanks, David.

  • DavidPilsworth

    Hello Simon, we do get asked a lot about what people should do if they breakdown, or what impact it will have. Vehicles will breakdown, but we find that most can get to the far left of the motorway or to an emergency refuge area. Admittedly, if a vehicle does breakdown on the hard shoulder, we have overhead signs that will show the lane as closed, and warn motorists further back, as well as slow traffic down, if needed. This is all managed by traffic officers in our regional control centre - you may have seen that on the local news recently. Our traffic officers will also be able to spot you using the CCTV cameras to help manage the incident. Most breakdowns can also be avoided, such as not running out of fuel, regular maintenance of vehicles, etc.

  • DavidPilsworth

    Hello again Ian, the cameras are capable of enforcing the national speed limit, but this is a decision for the local police force, not the Highways Agency.

  • DavidPilsworth

    Hi Liam, I've responded to others on the same points - so have a look at my other responses. But you did ask about HGVs, and the narrow lanes are more than wide enough for HGVs. You will have noticed though that most narrow lanes have been removed. We are working very closely with West Yorkshire Police to target the minority of HGV drivers who are driving irresponsibly through our roadworks. This is working well.

    • jay

      David as a HGV driver trust me the lanes were no where near wide enough when passing / being passed wing mirrors were almost touching,more than once if i opened my window i could touch a passing trailer so dont try & kid yourself those lanes were wide enough

      • DavidPilsworth

        Hi Jay, can I reassure you that they are wide enough - the average HGV is 2.8 metres wide, including wing mirrors, and our minimum lane width that HGV drivers can legally travel in is 3 metres: lane 1 is 3.2 metres. This is why we ask everybody to treat 50mph as a limit, not a target, and to keep left. We need to strike the right balance between keeping traffic moving and constructing our scheme safely. The only way we could keep three lanes open, in both directions, and build the scheme is by closing the hard shoulder and installing narrow lanes. The alternative would have been only two wider lanes, which would have created even more congestion. One final point is that within the works area we can't get two HGVs past each other - so just shows the challenges for us.

  • DavidPilsworth

    Hello Jay, thank you for your comment. I'd like to reassure you that we don't just close the motorway unnecessarily, we do so for safety reasons and because we need to in order to complete the work. We have to get the right balance between keeping the road open for the majority of the traffic, and getting the work done as quickly, and as safely, as we can. Unfortunately, this will mean some disruption for road users. We do give advance notice of all our closures, and you can find this on our scheme webpage (links at the top of this blog page) - you can register for email updates on closures, etc, directly to your inbox.

  • DavidPilsworth

    Many thanks everyone for all your questions and I hope the answers have been useful. Sorry if I haven't managed to reply to yours, it has been a busy hour-and-a-half. If you do have any further questions for us, please email the project team at m6​2​yorkshiremm@​highways.​gsi.​gov.​uk and we will do our best to get back to you. Thanks again, David.