Report says journey times are reduced

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Drivers using the M62 ‘smart motorway’ are saving up to half an hour each week as the number of people using the road increases, according to a report.

The £136m Highways England scheme between Brighouse and Rothwell, which was finished in 2013, was designed to deliver better journeys for motorists in the busiest periods.

The statistics suggest that drivers travelling westbound in the evening towards Brighouse are saving almost five minutes each day.

Roger Wantling, service delivery team leader for Highways England, said: “These latest figures show that the smart motorway really is making a difference to people’s lives saving commuters an average of 30 minutes a week, which works out at over a day a year.

“The smart motorway helps tackle the stop-start conditions many of us have experienced in the past, using the variable speed limits and opening up the hard shoulder on parts of the M62 during busy times to target congestion.

“This first year study into the impact of the scheme shows it’s had significant benefits for journey times as well as improving safety, and benefitting the wider economy.”

The study also suggests that while the number of drivers using the 15.5 mile stretch of the M62 between junction 25, Brighouse, and junction 30, Rothwell, has increased travel times have decreased.

An average of 155,000 vehicles now use the busiest stretch of the route between junction 26 (Chain Bar) at Cleckheaton and junction 27 for the M621 every day – an increase of 6 per cent.

The figures were published this week after Chancellor George Osborne said that new work to upgrade the M62 to a four-lane smart motorway from junctions 25, Brighouse, to junction 20, Rochdale, would be accelerated in his Budget.

The smart motorway uses the latest technology to monitor traffic levels and variable speed limits are displayed on overhead electronic signs to keep vehicles moving.

CCTV is used 24 hours a day to enable staff in Highways England’s regional control centre in Wakefield to respond quickly to incidents, closing lanes using red ‘X’s on overhead signs if necessary.

Drivers using the M62 can also use emergency refuge areas if they break down.

More details of the report are available at www.gov.uk/government/publications.