We’ve all witnessed it at some point – the nutcase bad-boy racers who zoom down at ridiculous speeds on the motorway.
Now the M62, which also is the highest motorway in the UK, has undergone a major overhaul to integrate “smart” technology making it very, very intelligent.
Other than detecting who’s picking their nose while driving, it has control centres using technology to monitor traffic and drivers every move.
With sensors built into the road surface, it can oversee road-hazards, erratic driving, speeding and more, and vary speed limits in response to driving conditions.
The pioneering “smart” technology has been developed to reduce congestion and ease traffic flow, avoiding the need for expensive and often controversial road-widening schemes.
Once the work is complete, more than 200 electronic signs on the M60 and M62 will be in place to warn drivers of traffic incidents, changes in the mandatory speed limit and any lane closures.
There will also be more CCTV cameras to monitor traffic levels.
The latest phase of Manchester’s smart motorway, which aims to tackle congestion and improve journey times on the M60 and M62 near Manchester, is almost complete.
Contractors for Highways England have finished work to convert the hard shoulder on a five-mile stretch of the M62 near Rochdale to a standard motorway lane and started work in the central reservation.
More than 7,000 tonnes of concrete is to be used to create a new safety barrier in the central reservation, which will reduce the risk of vehicles crossing onto the opposite carriageway in collisions. The barrier is also likely to require fewer repairs, cutting the need for lane closures.
Once complete, the smart motorway will increase capacity on this section of the M62 by a third, making journeys quicker and more reliable.
Work is also continuing throughout the 17-mile scheme, which runs from junction 8 of the M60 at Sale to junction 20 of the M62 at Rochdale.
The Manchester smart motorway is due to go live in sections starting in September, with all of the roadworks planned to be lifted by the end of the year. Highways England estimate the upgrade will make journeys quicker and more reliable.
Variable speed limits will be introduced on new overhead electronic signs on the completed smart motorway to tackle congestion and keep traffic moving.
The signs will also be used to inform drivers about lane closures and incidents ahead, and CCTV camera overviewing the entire route will allow traffic officers and the emergency services to respond quickly.
However, the scheme is not proving so popular with drivers who nudge over the 70mph speed limit and who are caught out by the new high-tech cameras, which face both forwards and backwards.
In contrast to the familiar yellow speed cameras, these cameras are grey and able to track across four lanes rather than just one.
It one section of the M25 in Kent, between junctions five and six, 668 motorists have were caught in just two months after the cameras were turned on.
These drivers faced at least £100 in fines, as well as points on their licence.
Quick tips for driving on a smart motorway
- Never drive in a lane closed by a red “X”
- Keep to the speed limit shown on the gantries
- A solid white line indicates the hard shoulder – don’t drive in it unless directed.
- A broken white line indicates a normal running lane
- If your vehicle experiences difficulties, eg warning light, exit the smart motorway immediately if possible
- Use the refuge areas for emergencies if there’s no hard shoulder
- Put your hazard lights on if you break down