Peak-time drivers on the M6 are now travelling up to 15 miles per hour faster than before the motorway was upgraded earlier this year.
Highways England says drivers travelling towards Crewe after 9am and leaving the office after 6pm are seeing the biggest improvement to their journeys – saving more than eight minutes along the 19-mile route every day.
Commuters working nine-to-five near Manchester are also spending over 30 minutes less time on the road each week. They are now able to travel at an average speed of 66 miles per hour on their way home from work – 15 miles per hour faster than before work started on the upgrade.
Drivers travelling southbound previously faced average speeds of 50 miles per hour between midday and 1pm. They are now able to travel 14 miles per hour faster, saving almost six minutes along the route and cutting journey times by over a quarter.
Initial statistics from the first three months following the M6 smart motorway’s completion also show that the number of collisions along the route has fallen by around 30%. There were 97 incidents reported from April to June 2015 compared to 68 incidents during the same three months this year – an average of 10 fewer collisions every month.
Overall, safety has improved by over 25% on England’s ‘all-lane running’ sections of motorway where electronic signs display red Xs and variable speed limits to close lanes and control the flow of traffic, and emergency areas provide a safer place to stop.
Highways England completed the £255 million project to upgrade the M6 between Crewe and Knutsford in March 2019.
A fourth lane has been introduced in each direction and a total of 258 electronic signs, 104 traffic sensors and 70 CCTV cameras are helping to tackle congestion and improve journey times for around 120,000 drivers every day.
Construction work is currently taking place on a similar upgrade of the M62 near Warrington, and preliminary work is also due to start later this year on the stretch of the M62 over the Pennines which links the North West to Yorkshire.