New plans for major improvements to the busy Simister Island section of the M60 in Greater Manchester are being shared in a public the consultation.
National Highways is looking at how to ease congestion and make journeys more reliable at Junction 18. A series of consultation events are due to take place in February and March.
More than 90,000 vehicles use this busy junction as a route to the M60, M62 and M66 on a daily basis.
National Highways says that to accommodate the needs of motorists it is important that the junction is futureproofed as soon as possible so that it continues to support local needs and economic growth.
In summer 2020, National Highways held a public consultation which included two options for the Simister Island Interchange improvements with feedback favouring the Northern Loop option – a design that included a new link road to the north of the existing junction.
The Northern Loop was then announced as our preferred route in January 2021 as it was able to support the scheme objectives of increasing traffic flow and reducing journey times.
Developing the scheme design has continued over the last two years culminating in the latest consultation.
The updated plans include widening the M60 and M66, introducing a fifth lane to the M60 between junctions 17 and 18 and adding a new hard shoulder.
The M66 southbound will also be widened to four lanes as it passes through junction 18 to accommodate the increased traffic volume from the Northern Loop.
National Highways is holding a public consultation for six weeks from Wednesday 15 February to Tuesday 28 March 2023 and members of the public are encouraged to give their views on the scheme.
A consultation report will be compiled using the feedback we receive and that will then be used as part of National Highways’ Development Consent Order (DCO) application.
This application is due to be submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport via the Planning Inspectorate in winter 2023. If the DCO application is successful, construction on the project, which is estimated to cost between £207 million and £340 million, is likely to start in late 2025.
Stewart Jones, National Highways’ Regional Delivery Director for the North West, said: “The Simister Island Interchange is a critical part of our investment in the North West, supporting economic growth by better connecting major cities across the north of England.
“The scheme is vital in reducing congestion now and in the future, improving safety, improving journey time reliability for all road users and increasing connectivity between local areas.
“We are keen to understand and take account of the views of all our customers, stakeholders and local communities. We are holding three public consultation events in February and March 2023 so that we can discuss our proposals in more detail.
“We’re also providing a range of alternative ways for you to speak to the project team, ask questions and, ultimately, make an informed response to the public consultation.”
(Picture – National Highways)