National Highways seeks views on preferred route to close Manchester’s motorway gap

Posted on 10 January 2022

National Highways has launched a consultation on its plans to close a gap in the M60 motorway around Manchester.

England’s major roads operator announced its preferred route for the Simister Island Interchange in January 2021 and has been working on preliminary designs since.

Costain has been brought in to design and manage the construction of the £138M Simister Island junction improvement programme which serves the M60, M66 and M62. Jacobs is also acting as a design partner on the job.

Simister Island Interchange is one of the busiest motorway junctions in the north-west used by around 90,000 vehicles each day. The junction struggles with such high volumes of traffic above what it was designed for, and as a result suffers from congestion and poor journey time reliability.

The 57km M60 ring road was formed 20 years ago through connection of several existing stretches of motorway but the current layout means drivers need to exist at Simister Island to continue on the motorway.

The junction provides a vital link between the M60, M62 and M66 but National Highways has said that the confusing layout means M60 drivers often ned up heading to Leeds on the M62.

Under plans drawn up by National Highways, a new loop would be constructed to take drivers from eastbound to southbound on the M60 to allow driver to continue their journey without leaving the motorway.

A National Highways spokesperson said: “The consultation is an important opportunity for you to tell us your thoughts on the proposed scheme, including any changes that have occurred locally in the last year which may impact on our proposed design. We are keen to understand and take account of the views of all our customers, stakeholders and local communities.”

A planning application is due to be submitted later this year. If the plans are approved by the government then work on the project could start by spring 2025.

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