The first section of managed motorway in the North of England has gone live today on part of the M62 between Gildersome and Tingley.
The 2.7-mile section is now fully operational as a managed motorway which means that during busy periods, Highways Agency staff can set overhead signs telling drivers they can use the hard shoulder as an extra lane.
Variable mandatory speed limits, indicated by a red ring, will be displayed to smooth the flow of traffic, and lane closure information may also be displayed.
When the hard shoulder is not open as a running lane – indicated by either a broken red ‘X’ over the lane or a blank sign – it reverts to emergency purposes only.
As work is still being carried out on the scheme, the 50mph speed limit will remain plance between Brighouse and Rothwell for the time being.
The motorway will open in a phased approach, with all work due to be completed by the autumn.
The Highways Agency has also organised a live web-chat for road users to ask project manager David Pilsworth about the technology behind the managed motorway, the different signs they will see, and any other questions, such as what they should do if their vehicle breaks down.
The chat will be live on the Highways Agency website at www.highways.gov.uk/m62webchat on Thursday May 23, between 1pm and 2.30pm, but questions can be submitted in advance via the same website.
When the web chat goes live, people will also be able to follow via the Highways Agency website and submit questions through Twitter, @HAtraffic_yorks, using #M62webchat.
Mr Pilsworth said: “We are delighted that the first section of managed motorway is now liveand road users can start to feel the benefits of reduced congestion and improved journey times.
“This is a significant milestone in the delivery of the scheme, which is on target for completion in the autumn.
“As this is the first managed motorway in the North of England, we understand that drivers are likely to have questions about how the system works and what they should do when driving on the new section. The web chat we have organised aims to help road users gain a better understanding of the scheme and what to expect when using a managed motorway.”
To find out more about the scheme, the signs and signals you will see and what to do when driving on a managed motorway, visit http://www.highways.gov.uk/m62yorkshiremm, and click on the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ tab.