M56 junction 6 to 8 smart motorway

We will build an all-lane running motorway on the M56 between junctions 6 and 8. This will provide increased capacity in a cost-effective way, maximising the use of the existing road.

Start date Spring 2020
End date Complete (June 2023)
Cost TBC

Latest updates

  • 15 February 2024

    Maintenance work to get under way

    We’re carrying out essential maintenance work on the M56 between junction 5 and 7.

    As part of the work, we'll be surveying roadside drainage, surfacing, installing traffic signs and completing planting.

    To safely carry out our work, we will need to close lanes of the motorway overnight.

    We’ll be working Monday to Friday, between 10pm and 5am, when traffic levels are lowest to reduce disruption. 

    If you are travelling in the area, plan ahead and allow extra time for your journey.

    We apologise for any disruption and thank you for your patience while this essential work is completed.

    You can find more information on the closure dates, times and locations below.

    Please note, our schedule of work is subject to weather conditions. Where possible, we’ll keep you updated of any significant changes.

    Closure information - updated 15 February

    All of the closures outlined below will be in place from 10pm to 5am.

    Monday 19 to Friday 23 February 202 (10pm to 5am)

    • M56 junction 7 to 6 eastbound – lanes 1, 2 and 3, and junction 6 entry slip road, closed
    • M56 junction 5 to 7 westbound – lanes 1, 2 and 3, and junction 6 exit slip road, closed

  • 12 October 2023

    Motorway maintenance work

    We’re undertaking essential maintenance work on the M56 between junctions 6 and 8.

    We are surveying roadside drainage, cleaning the verges, and installing additional technology to improve journeys and reduce the need for future repairs.

    To safely carry out this essential maintenance work, we will need to close lanes and carriageways of the M56 overnight. 

    Work will take place on weeknights between 8pm or 9pm and 6am, when traffic levels are lowest, and is due to be complete on Saturday 28 October 2023.

    Please note, our schedule of work is subject to weather conditions. Where possible, we’ll keep you updated of any significant changes.

    We apologise for any disruption and thank you for your continued patience while this essential work is completed.

    Closure dates, times and locations

    All of the closures will be taking place overnight.

    • Monday 9 to Friday 13 October, 9pm to 6am - M56 junction 5 to 9 westbound closure, M56 junction 9 to 5 eastbound lanes 3 and 4 closed
    • Monday 16 to Friday 20 October, 8pm to 6am - M56 junction 7 to 5 eastbound closure, M56 junction 5 to 7 westbound lanes 3 and 4 closed
    • Monday 23 to Friday 27 October, 8pm to 6am - M56 junction 6 to 7 westbound and eastbound, lanes 1 and 2 closed

  • 27 June 2023

    Motorway upgrade moves to 70mph

    Earlier today (Tuesday 27 June) we lifted the final restriction on a major M56 upgrade between junction 6, just south of Manchester Airport, and junction 8 at the A556 junction.

    This means you can now drive up to the 70mph national speed limit along this route. If you’ve been using the road recently, you’ll know that a new fourth lane was opened earlier this year.

    Drivers were kept at a lower maximum speed limit of 60mph for their safety while we fine-tuned the technology, which detects stopped vehicles.

    The upgrade means drivers using this busy stretch of motorway, that carries around 142,000 vehicles each day, will benefit from added capacity and smoother journeys.

    Motorists who get into difficulty during their journeys will be able to access any of four new emergency areas that have been created as part of the upgrade, two are located on each carriageway.

    Drivers will have a place to stop in an emergency every 1.07 miles on average. Someone travelling at 70mph will reach a place to stop in an emergency every 66 seconds. 

    Emergency areas must only be used in an emergency. They provide a safer place to stop than a hard shoulder, are set back from the carriageway and are also wider than a hard shoulder.

    They are designed to a standard 100 metres in length, with a 30-metre central stopping area. Drivers must use the emergency telephone provided and follow the operator’s advice for exiting the emergency area.

    We’d like to say thank you to everyone for their co-operation and understanding while this work was carried out.

    On motorways where the hard shoulder has been permanently converted to a traffic lane, there’s a whole system of inter-related features, working together to help keep traffic moving safely. They include:

    • variable speed limits to help keep traffic moving, reducing frustrating stop-start traffic and making journeys quicker
    • clearly signed and orange-coloured emergency areas set back from the road and with telephones linking directly to our control rooms
    • detection systems to monitor traffic for changes in flows and speeds
    • CCTV cameras that our operators are able to move and zoom to monitor and manage congestion and incidents, where notified. The system has the ability to see 100% of the carriageway
    • signs and signals to provide better information that can alert drivers to hazards ahead and display Red X signals to close lanes to other traffic when a stopped vehicle is identified
    • enforcement cameras to deter the minority who break speed limits and ignore Red X signals

    On all operational all lane running motorways radar stopped vehicle detection technology is also in place. It was introduced as an enhancement to the system of features to help further reduce the risks associated with live lane stops and enable us to respond more quickly.

    In addition, on this stretch of motorway there is low-noise road surfacing on lanes one and four on both sides of the carriageway and the steel barrier in the central reservation has been replaced with a new, stronger, concrete barrier.

    Find out more information about safe driving on motorways.

    Resurfacing of lanes two and three

    Drivers on the M56 will continue to see improvements to their journeys this summer as we resurface a section of the motorway.

    We're spending an additional £2.4 million to resurface lanes two and three of both carriageways between junction 6 and 7 of the M56.

    Carrying the resurfacing work out at this stage enabled us to open the new fourth lane sooner and meant drivers could benefit from the motorway upgrade earlier.

    The essential works are due to be complete by the end of July 2023.

    The upgraded road surface will improve journeys and reduce the need for future repairs. While also benefitting the community as we’re installing a low-noise road surface.

    To minimise the disruption to road users, we will be carrying out most of our work overnight between 8pm and 6am. We'll mainly work under a series of overnight lane closures, meaning we can keep traffic flowing in both directions.

    However, some overnight road closures will be required to complete our work safely. The M56 westbound junction 6 to 7 will be closed overnight from Tuesday 11 to Friday 14 July, reopening at 7am on Saturday 15 July.

    Traffic numbers are very low in this area overnight and the usual good diversions for local and longer distance traffic will be in place. 

    We apologise in advance to drivers and residents close to the work for any disruption and thank you for your continued patience while this essential work is completed.

  • 18 May 2023

    Fourth lane now open to traffic

    On Monday 27 March we opened a new lane on each side of the upgraded carriageway of the M56 between junctions 6 and 8, enabling drivers to benefit from the additional capacity and more reliable journeys.

    The motorway speed limit remains at 60mph as a safety measure while we continue to fine-tune the newly installed technology.

    The technology works as part of a system to help further reduce the risks associated with live lane breakdowns and needs to be finely adjusted to suit the environment of the road where it has been installed.

    This can only happen when there are no roadworks in place and when drivers are able to use all lanes of the upgraded carriageway.

    The temporary CCTV cameras used for the roadworks remain in place, alongside the permanent cameras installed as part of the upgrade. We’re also maintaining our free recovery service for anybody who may breakdown during this fine-tuning phase of the technology.

    Once the system is performing to an acceptable level at 60mph the maximum speed will be increased to the national speed limit of 70mph. From this point further testing continues as we go through a process of continual improvement.

    We are close to completing the technology testing phase and will be increasing the speed limit in several weeks. We will be announcing the update on this webpage when this has been achieved.

    Across the full M56 scheme between junctions 6 and 8 there are now four locations for drivers to stop in an emergency. Someone travelling at 60mph will reach a place to stop in an emergency every 74 seconds.

    Resurfacing of lanes two and three

    Drivers on the M56 will continue to see improvements to their journeys this summer as we resurface a section of the motorway.

    As part of a separate £2.4 million project, we’ll be resurfacing lanes two and three of both carriageways between junction 6 and 7 of the M56.

    The essential works begin on Tuesday 30 May and are due to be complete by the end of July 2023.

    The upgraded road surface will improve journeys and reduce the need for future repairs. While also benefitting the community as we’re installing a low-noise road surface.

    To minimise the disruption to road users, we will be carrying out most of our work overnight between 8pm and 6am. We'll mainly work under a series of overnight lane closures, meaning we can keep traffic flowing in both directions.

    However, some overnight road closures will be required to complete our work safely.

    The M56 eastbound junction 7 to 6 will be closed overnight from Tuesday 13 to Friday 16 June, reopening at 7am on Saturday 17 June. It will close again overnight on Monday 19 June.

    The M56 westbound junction 6 to 7 will be closed overnight from Tuesday 11 to Friday 14 July, reopening at 7am on Saturday 15 July.

    Traffic numbers are very low in this area overnight and the usual good diversions for local and longer distance traffic will be in place. 

    We apologise in advance to drivers and residents close to the work for any disruption, and thank you for your continued patience while this essential work is completed.

  • 06 March 2023

    Scheme update - March 2023

    Our construction work on upgrading the M56 junction 6 to 8 is virtually complete and we expect to start opening it to traffic very soon.

    First, we will make the new lanes available for drivers but keep a 60mph speed limit in place while systems, like stopped vehicle detection technology, undergo final commissioning work. 

    This can only be done when the road is in its final layout and traffic is 60mph or above. Safety features from the roadworks, such as extra CCTV and a free recovery service will remain during this time. 

    Then, when these systems have been commissioned to our stringent requirements, we will restore the 70mph limit and the upgrade will be fully open to traffic. We will announce both of these milestones as soon as we are able. 

    In the meantime we would like to thank drivers for their patience, and for driving safely through the roadworks. We'd also like to reassure you that the upgrade is very nearly complete. 

  • 09 December 2022

    Project update - December 2022

    Over the past month we’ve been working 24/7 to finish the construction phase of the scheme. This includes waterproofing bridge decks, installing safety barrier foundations at Wilmslow bridge and putting new fencing and street lighting in place.

    We planned to complete the construction phase of the scheme in late autumn 2022. However, a combination of factors means we’re unable to start the staged opening of the extra lanes to drivers as soon as we hoped.

    This is due to poor weather, extra drainage work in the central reservation to accommodate the new concrete safety barrier and additional structural work.

    We’re working as quickly as is safely possible to finish our work early in the new year. Scheme information signage on-site is being updated and we expect to have this done in the coming weeks.

    What’s next?

    The majority of the work we’re currently undertaking is safety critical and can only be carried out under overnight lane or carriageway closures. This work includes:

    • surfacing and strengthening the central reservation
    • replacing the steel safety barrier in the central reservation with a concrete one
    • installing new road markings on both carriageways
    • installing new street lighting and new road signs
    • testing new technology
    • installing emergency refuge areas with additional signage

    As we approach Christmas, we’ll be finishing off as much work as possible. We will have no overnight lane, junction or carriageway closures from Tuesday 20 December until we return to site after the holiday period on Tuesday 3 January 2023.

    During this period the speed restrictions, narrow lanes and temporary barriers will remain in place for your safety and other road users. All three lanes will be open at all times. CCTV and free recovery will be in place to ensure the safety of motorists travelling through the area.

    We’d like to take this opportunity to thank customers for their continued patience as we work to deliver the scheme.

  • 14 November 2022

    Scheme progress update

    Over the last four weeks we’ve finished our work in the central reservation to install the new drainage systems. We’re also continuing our work to upgrade the central reservation from a metal barrier to a concrete one to ensure the safety of road users.

    Other work we’ve been carrying out includes:

    • surfacing work to strengthen the central reservation
    • installing new road signs
    • removing vegetation on both sides of the motorway to ensure that all signs, signals, CCTV and stopped vehicle detection radars are free from obstruction

    What’s next?

    We’re working 24/7 to complete the construction phase of the scheme. The majority of our work needs to be done overnight when we can put traffic management on the motorway.

    We’ve planned a week of overnight closures on the eastbound carriageway. These closures are essential to allow us to carry out safety critical work.

    The works we’ll be undertaking includes:

    • clearing vegetation close to the road signs and CCTV cameras
    • continuing the installation of the new central reservation
    • installing new surfacing and new road white lining
    • erecting new street lighting
    • finishing our work to fit all the signs on the overhead structures

    The dates, time and locations of the closures this week are:

    • Monday 14 November, 9pm to 6am, M56 junctions 7 to 5, eastbound only
    • Tuesday 15 November, 9pm to 6am, M56 junctions 9 to 5, eastbound only
    • Wednesday 16 November, 9pm to 6am, M56 junctions 7 to 5, eastbound only
    • Thursday 17 November, 9pm to 6am, M56 junctions 7 to 5, eastbound only
    • Friday 18 November, 9pm to 7am, M56 junctions 7 to 5, eastbound only
    • Saturday 19 November9pm to 7am, M56 junctions 7 to 5, eastbound only
    • Sunday 20 November, 9pm to 6am, M56 junctions 7 to 5, eastbound only

    Please allow an extra 35 minutes for your journey and plan before travelling. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you.

    We’re asking motorists to not follow your satnav as it does not always recognise a road closure. The motorway diversion will be clearly signed with M56 (E) signs throughout the diversion route.

    The M56 junction 9 to 5 eastbound strategic diversion is below.

    Local diversions are also in place and can be viewed further down this page in our diversion route section.

    Want to find out more?

    Over the coming weeks we’ll have various overnight carriageway and lane closures. If you’d like to be added to our scheme traffic management bulletin, please email 'subscribe' to M56Junctions6-8@Gallifordtry.co.uk.

    Live traffic information is always available at Traffic England. Daily road closure reports are shared on our website and via the North West's regional Twitter feed.

    Thank you for your continued patience while we progress our work to upgrade the M56 between junctions 6 and 8.

  • 20 September 2022

    Project update - September 2022

    Over the last four weeks we’ve been continuing our work to upgrade the central reservation from a metal safety barrier to a concrete one.

    This has involved installing drainage, carrying out road surfacing, laying foundations and installing sections of the new concrete barrier.

    We recently closed the M56 for a full weekend to safely install stop vehicle detection technology, which was completed. We would like to thank drivers and partners for their support in making the weekend closure a success.

    We took the opportunity to do as much other work as possible, avoiding multiple separate overnight carriageway closures by doing so. Other work we carried out included:

    • resurfacing the westbound junction 6 entry slip road
    • carrying out drainage surveys
    • installing drainage in the central reservation and at other locations throughout the scheme
    • inspection work on the overhead structures
    • reseeding grass verges

    What’s next?

    Our work in the central reservation is progressing well. Other work we plan to carry out this month includes:

    • installing new road markings and street lighting
    • completing carriageway surfacing
    • finishing the installation of the new central reservation safety barrier and removing the temporary safety barrier

    Want to find out more?

    Over the coming weeks we’ll have various overnight carriageway and lane closures. If you’d like to be added to our scheme traffic management bulletin, please email 'subscribe' to M56Junctions6-8@Gallifordtry.co.uk.

    Live traffic information is always available at Traffic England. While daily road closure reports are shared on our website and via the North West's regional Twitter feed.

    Thank you for your continued patience while we progress our work to upgrade the M56 between junctions 6 and 8.

  • 08 August 2022

    September weekend closures

    In the first weekend of September, we plan to have a full westbound carriageway closure in place between junctions 5 and 7 from:

    • 9pm Friday 2 September to 7am Saturday 3 September 2022
    • 9pm Saturday 3 September to 7am Sunday 4 September 2022
    • 9pm Sunday 4 September to 6am Monday 5 September 2022

    We’ll be installing stop vehicle detection technology and undertaking surfacing work. To reduce the impact on customers, we’re lifting the closure on Sunday morning to accommodate fans travelling to Manchester United’s home game on Sunday afternoon.

    In the second weekend of September, we’ll have a full weekend closure of both carriageways of the M56 from:

    • 9pm Friday 9 September to 6am on Monday 12 September

    During this closure we’ll be removing all the temporary safety barrier from the central reservation and completing our work to install the new concrete barrier. We’ll also be installing stop vehicle detection technology on the eastbound carriageway.

    Additionally, we’ll complete surfacing work on the central reservation and at junction 6 exit slip road on the eastbound carriageway. To safely complete our work, we’ll be closing both carriageways for the full weekend as follows:

    • junctions 9 to 5 will be closed for eastbound traffic (heading towards Manchester)
    • junctions 5 to 8 will be closed for westbound traffic (heading away from Manchester)

    To ensure journeys are maintained, clearly signed diversions will be in place.

    We’re asking drivers to follow the signed M56 diversion routes during these closures. Please do not use satnav when following a diversion.

    We’ve looked to reduce the disruption by carrying out our work on these dates, ahead of the October school holidays, but delays are expected. Before travelling plan ahead and allow extra time to complete your journey. 

    Please note, our work is subject to weather conditions. Should the planned full weekend closure be cancelled, we’ve scheduled a second weekend as a precaution. This closure would take place from 9pm Friday 16 September to 6am Monday 19 September 2022.

    If you would like to receive future traffic management updates, register your details via email at: M56Junctions6-8@gallifordtry.co.uk.

    M56 junction 5 to 7 westbound strategic diversion

    M56 junction 9 to 5 eastbound strategic diversion

  • 01 August 2022

    August update

    What we've been doing

    During July, we finished installing the final overhead structure and cross carriageway ducting for the scheme. We’ve been progressing our work to replace the steel safety barrier in the central reservation. Our site clearance and excavation work in the central reservation is now complete. 

    In August we’ll be putting in new drainage in the central reservation ahead of carrying out resurfacing work and installing the new concrete safety barrier. We plan to complete upgrading all the existing overhead structures and install all the new digital signage.

  • 01 July 2022

    July update

    What we’ve been doing

    In June we’ve continued to make good progress, completing our drainage and site clearance work to remove the steel safety barrier from the central reservation. We’ll be replacing this with a concrete barrier.

    Other work we’ve been doing includes:

    • completing the final cross carriageway ducting under the road
    • excavating the central reservation ahead of installing new drainage
    • building access paths to the technology sites
    • installing new technology and cabling on the existing westbound gantries (as pictured below) ahead of mounting the new signs

    What’s next?

    In July we’ll be working 24 hours a day, Monday to Friday, there’ll also be weekend dayshift work where needed. We appreciate that it can appear to motorists travelling through our scheme that very little or nothing is happening, we understand the frustration that this may cause. Please be aware while workers may not be visible, it doesn’t mean that they’re not working in the area.

    Over the next month we’ll be continuing with our earth and drainage works in the central reservation. We’ll also be installing all the technology and signage for the gantries on the eastbound carriageway.

    This work is safety critical, so we need to have a series of overnight eastbound carriageway closures to ensure the safety of road workers and road users.

    Traffic management

    The M56 is an important route and is used by huge numbers of heavy goods and commuter traffic. To ensure journeys are maintained, we’re using three narrow running lanes to keep the traffic flow moving in each direction during the day.

    Please see our planned overnight traffic management for July below. The precise dates and times of the works may be subject to change due to weather conditions or unforeseen circumstances.

    Where possible, we’ll keep you updated of significant changes. For the most up to date traffic information, please visit Traffic England.

    M56 junction 6 to 8 eastbound, Monday 4 July to Sunday 10 July 2022

    Narrow lanes will be in place overnight, 9pm to 6am (extended to 7am on weekends), Monday 4 July to Sunday 10 July.

    The impact on journey times is expected to be minimal.

    M56 junction 6 to 8 westbound, Monday 4 July to Sunday 10 July 2022

    Full overnight closures between junction 5 entry slip and junction 7, from 9pm to 6am (extended to 7am on weekends), Monday 4 July to Friday 8 July. View the diversion route.

    We’re advising motorists to allow an extra 35 minutes for journeys. Please do not follow your sat nav, follow M56 (W) diversion signs.

    Narrow lanes in place overnight Saturday 9 July (9pm to 7am) and Sunday 10 July (9pm to 6am).

    M56 junction 6 to 8 eastbound, Monday 11 July to Sunday 17 July 2022

    Narrow lanes will be in place overnight (9pm to 6am) from Monday 11 July to Wednesday 13 July.

    There will be full overnight closures between junction 7 entry slip and junction 5 on Thursday 14 July (9pm to 6am) and Friday 15 July (9pm to 7am). View the diversion route.

    We’re advising motorists to allow an extra 35 minutes for journeys. Please do not follow your sat nav, follow M56 (E) diversion signs.

    Narrow lanes in place Saturday 16 July (9pm to 7am) and Sunday 17 July (9pm to 6am). The impact on journey times is expected to be minimal.

    M56 junction 6 to 8 westbound, Monday 11 July to Sunday 17 July 2022

    Full overnight closures between junction 5 entry slip and junction 7, from 9pm to 6am (extended to 7am on weekends), on the following:

    • Monday 11 July
    • Tuesday 12 July
    • Wednesday 13 July
    • Saturday 16 July

    View the diversion route. We’re advising motorists to allow an extra 35 minutes for journeys. Please do not follow your sat nav, follow M56 (W) diversion signs.

    On Thursday 14 July (9pm to 6am) and Friday 15 July (9pm to 7am) lanes 1 and 2 will be closed.

    Narrow lanes will in place on Sunday 17 July (9pm to 6am). The impact on journey times is expected to be minimal.

    M56 junction 6 to 8 eastbound, Monday 18 July to Sunday 24 July 2022

    Full overnight closures between junction 7 entry slip and junction 5 from Monday 18 July to Friday 22 July, between 9pm and 6am (extended to 7am on weekends) View the diversion route.

    We’re advising motorists to allow an extra 35 minutes for journeys. Please do not follow your sat nav, follow M56 (E) diversion signs.

    Narrow lanes in place Saturday 23 July (9pm to 7am) and Sunday 24 July (9pm to 6am). The impact on journey times is expected to be minimal.

    M56 junction 6 to 8 westbound, Monday 18 July to Sunday 24 July 2022

    Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed from Monday 18 July to Friday 22 July, between 9pm and 6am (extended to 7am on weekends).

    Narrow lanes will be in place on Saturday 23 July (9pm to 7am) and Sunday 24 July (9pm to 6am). The impact on journey times is expected to be minimal.

    M56 junction 6 to 8 eastbound, Monday 25 July to Sunday 31 July 2022

    Full overnight closures between junction 7 entry slip and junction 5 from Monday 25 July to Friday 29 July, between 9pm and 6am (extended to 7am on weekends) View the diversion route.

    We’re advising motorists to allow an extra 35 minutes for journeys. Please do not follow your sat nav, follow M56 (E) diversion signs.

    Narrow lanes in place Saturday 30 July (9pm to 7am) and Sunday 31 July (9pm to 6am). The impact on journey times is expected to be minimal.

    M56 junction 6 to 8 westbound, Monday 25 July to Sunday 31 July 2022

    Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed from Monday 25 July to Friday 29 July, between 9pm and 6am (extended to 7am on weekends).

    Narrow lanes will be in place on Saturday 30 July (9pm to 7am) and Sunday 31 July (9pm to 6am). The impact on journey times is expected to be minimal.

    Roadworks affect all journeys which is why it’s important they are completed as quickly and safely as possible. Our overnight closures are under constant review, and we’re aiming to open the road earlier than the times stated wherever possible. 

    Please be considerate of residents living along the diversion routes when travelling during these closures. All our diversion routes can be viewed below.

  • 01 June 2022

    June update

    What we’ve been doing

    During May we’ve been working hard to finish all the main construction work on the westbound carriageway. Other work we’ve completed includes:

    • resurfacing the hard shoulder on the westbound carriageway with a low noise surface material
    • installing the new safety barrier at the side of the road
    • constructing new emergency areas
    • removing the contraflow system and switching the traffic management layout to ensure the safety of our colleagues when working in the middle of live traffic

    What’s next?

    Now that work to remove the contraflow is complete, we’re moving on to our final phase of construction work in the central reservation.

    Throughout June we’ll be working 24/7 Monday to Friday. There’ll also be day shift working at the weekends when needed. Our upcoming work in the central reservation will include:

    • removing the steel safety barrier ahead of installing a new concrete barrier
    • installing new drainage under the road to ensure that during heavy periods of rain there is no ponding of water on the road
    • replacing existing street lighting with new environmentally friendly LED lighting

    We’ve also started building access paths on the westbound side of the road to ensure safe access to the technology sites for our colleagues. And we’ll be continuing our work to upgrade the existing gantries on both sides of the road. This work is essential to allow the new technology to be installed as part of the motorway upgrade.

    To carry out our work safely we’ll need to have a series of overnight junction, lane, and carriageway closures. To make the most of these closures, we’ll look to complete other construction activities. By carrying out this work at the same time we’re reducing the number of full closures and minimising disruption for our customers.

    How to find out more

    If you like to be added to our distribution list for our scheme traffic management bulletin, please email M56Junctions6-8@Gallifordtry.co.uk with the word ‘subscribe’. For the most up to date Traffic Information please visit Traffic England.

    We’d like to thank you for your continued patience while we progress our work to upgrade the M56 between junctions 6 and 8.

  • 26 April 2022

    Final phase of work and traffic management change

    Project update

    Over the past month we’ve been working hard to finish our main construction activity on the westbound carriageway. We’ve started resurfacing the hard shoulder with a low noise material. We’re planning to finish this work on Wednesday 4 May 2022.

    Other work we’ve completed includes: 

    • construction of the concrete bases for the gantries and CCTV
    • installed the power cabling for the new gantries
    • completed cross carriageway ducting under the road
    • fitted new kerbs and drainage ducting
    • carried out essential drainage surveys on the central reservation ahead of the traffic management switch

    New traffic management

    As part of the traffic management for the final phase, the current contraflow system will be removed. It has been in place throughout to keep three lanes of the motorway running in each direction.

    To provide a safe working space in the central reservation, lane 3 in both the eastbound and westbound carriageways will close. Drivers will be able to use the newly converted hard shoulders, keeping three lanes running in each direction with a 50mph speed limit until the project is completed. 

    To change the traffic management ahead of the third and final phase of construction work, there’ll be nightly closures of lanes and or carriageways over the next four weeks, from Wednesday 27 April to Thursday 19 May 2022.  

    The following carriageway closures will be taking place with clearly signed diversions in place:

    Monday 23 May to Wednesday 25 May 2022

    When Eastbound Westbound
    Monday 23 May, 9pm to 6am Lanes 2 and 3 closed Full carriageway closure between junctions 5 and 7
    Tuesday 24 May, 9pm to 6am Lanes 2 and 3 closed Full carriageway closure between junctions 5 and 7
    Wednesday 25 May, 9pm to 6am Lanes 2 and 3 closed Full carriageway closure between junctions 5 and 7

     

    Please note, we've rescheduled some of our planned carriageway closures and some lane closures have been added. We’ll keep you updated of any further significant changes.

    For the most up to date traffic information please visit Traffic England.

    Alternatively, if you’d like to subscribe to our weekly traffic management bulletin, which includes links to the diversion routes, please email the word ‘subscribe’ to: M56Junctions6-8@GallifordTry.co.uk.

  • 04 April 2022

    Update on work - April 2022

    Work we’ve been doing

    During March we’ve been progressing our construction work on the westbound carriageway.

    We’ve started our seasonal landscaping work, planting new trees, bushes and grass on both sides of the road. We’ll complete this work during the next planting season. Other work we’ve been carrying out includes:

    • installing new ducts under the motorway for the new technology cables
    • regrading and reinstating the verges at the side of the road
    • installing new safety barrier and kerbs
    • removing and replacing safety barrier

    The recent full weekend closure

    At the end of March, we closed the M56 for a full weekend. The closure allowed us to install two new 60 metre superspan gantries.

    The gantries stretch across both the east and westbound carriageways and will house the latest technology to keep drivers informed on journeys.

    Watch the time lapse video to see how the gantries were installed. 

     

    Other work we carried out during the weekend closure included:

    • refurbishment work at Ashley Rail Bridge and Cow Lane
    • removing and installing new safety barriers
    • landscaping
    • constructing foundations for CCTV cameras
    • installing new kerbs, ducting and drainage
    • pavement testing
    • essential structure surveys
    • litter picking, sign cleaning and vegetation maintenance

    What’s next?

    Our work on the westbound carriageway is progressing well. The final phase of construction work on the central reservation is planned to start towards the end of May.

    Before we can start this phase, we’ll be resurfacing the hard shoulder on the westbound carriageway with a low noise surface material. We’re planning to start this work in the middle of April and will be completing it in the first week of May.

    We’ll carry this work out under full closures of the westbound carriageway. Closures will be in place from Monday to Friday between the hours of 9pm and 6am. All diversions will be clearly signed.  

    To make the most of these closures we’ll look to complete other construction activities on the westbound carriageway. By carrying out this work at the same time, we’re reducing the amount of full closures needed and disruption for our customers.

    How to find out more

    If you’d like to be updated of our planned traffic management, please email: M56Junctions6-8@Gallifordtry.co.uk.

    For the most up to date traffic information, please visit: Traffic England.

  • 03 March 2022

    Upcoming weekend closure

    Full weekend closure and latest newsletter

    Later this month we’ll be carrying out a key part of our works, which includes installing superspan gantries on both sides of the carriageway.

    To do this work safely, we have planned a full weekend closure on the M56. The closure will be in place from 9pm Friday 25 March, until 5.30am Monday 28 March 2022. 

    We will be closing both carriageways as follows:

    • junctions 9 to 5 will be closed for eastbound traffic (heading towards Manchester)
    • junctions 5 to 8 will be closed for westbound traffic (heading away from Manchester)

    We’re taking the opportunity to do as much other work as possible, avoiding multiple separate overnight carriageway closures by doing so.

    Additionally, we’ve looked to further minimise disruption for motorists by carrying out works on these dates. There are no major sporting fixtures and it’s also ahead of the Easter holidays.

    Diversion routes

    We’ve chosen these diversion routes to keep traffic flows moving and to prevent congestion through built up areas.

    All diversions will be clearly signed, keeping road users informed of the route they should be following. Drivers are asked to follow the signed M56 diversion routes during these closures - please don’t use satnav when following a diversion.

    Eastbound diversion route

    For motorists travelling eastbound, the approximate journey time to re-join the M56 at junction 5 is 29 minutes.

    Westbound diversion route

    For motorists travelling westbound, the approximate journey time to re-join the M56 junction 9 is 30 minutes, and 38 minutes for junction 8.

    Delays are expected. Before travelling plan ahead and allow extra time to complete your journey.

    We appreciate the closure will have an impact on road users travelling over the weekend and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

    Spring newsletter

    View our spring newsletter

  • 04 February 2022

    February update

    In January, we've made good progress with our work on the westbound carriageway. Works to remove old signage and technology cabinets are complete. Other activities such as earthworks, piling and drainage are continuing to take place.

    We’ve also installed some new gantries, which will hold the electronic signs to display the variable speed limits and key messages. This will help manage traffic flows and reduce congestion.

    Throughout February, there will be more earthwork in the verge area, and site clearance activity to install ducting for the technology cables and drainage systems.

    Other work we plan to carry out this month includes:

    • vegetation clearance work
    • building access paths for safe access to the technology sites
    • installing new roadside kerbs ducting and drainage
    • complete our sheet piling work

    If you like to be added to our distribution list for our scheme traffic management bulletin, please email M56Junctions6-8@Gallifordtry.co.uk

    We’d like to thank you for your continued patience while we progress our work to upgrade the M56 between junctions 6 and 8.

     

  • 15 December 2021

    Winter newsletter and progress update

    Progress update

    Since work started on the westbound verge in November, we’ve been making good progress removing vegetation, and existing street furniture such as signs and technology cabinets.

    This month and in the new year, we’ll be removing and replacing the safety barrier in the verge area. Other work we plan to carry out on the westbound verge include:

    • sheet piling in preparation of the new walls along the emergency areas
    • bore piling to build bases for the new overhead structures 
    • installing new kerbs, ducting and drainage
    • vegetation clearance
    • earthwork in the verge areas

    To carry out these works safely, we’ll need to have various overnight lane and slip road closures. You can view our diversion routes for any closures below.

    For the most up to date Traffic Information please visit Traffic England. Alternatively, if you’d like to be added to our scheme traffic management bulletin, please email M56Junctions6-8@Gallifordtry.co.uk.

    Traffic Management at Cow Lane
    In preparation of upcoming work to the westbound side of Cow Lane underbridge, we’re putting measures in place to prevent any objects from falling onto the road below. There will be temporary two-way traffic signals installed for safety, which will be in place from 8am on Tuesday 4 January 2022 until 6pm on Friday 7 January 2022. 

    We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued patience whilst we progress our work to upgrade this scheme.

    View the winter newsletter here

  • 02 November 2021

    Update on work - November 2021

    We’re pleased to confirm our work to move the traffic management onto the westbound carriageway is now complete. During these works, we also carried out other activities which included:

    • replacing and adding some road markings
    • installing more reflective studs along the safety barrier
    • installing more digital signage throughout the scheme

    Over the coming weeks we plan to carry out site clearance work on the westbound side of the carriageway. This will include removing and replacing the existing traffic signs, technology equipment and safety barrier. We’ll also start work to refurbish Wilmslow Bridge, Ashley Rail Overbridge, Cow Lane Overbridge.

    Work to install the off-network access path at Cow Lane Overbridge is complete. We planned to carry out work to build a vehicle layby, however this has been rescheduled to start in December due to the design currently being under review.  We’ll provide an update once the design is finalised and new dates have been confirmed.

    We appreciate your continued patience whilst we progress our work to upgrade this scheme.

  • 13 October 2021

    Contraflow switch update and planned closures

    We're pleased to inform you that our main construction work on the eastbound carriageway is now complete.

    We’ve started to move the traffic management layout on 4 October onto the westbound carriageway, and we’re aiming to complete this work by the end of October. We’ll need to have a series of overnight lane, junction or full carriageway closures during this period to switch the traffic management over safely. Our full overnight closures on the westbound carriageway are planned on the dates listed below.

    • Monday 11 October until Sunday 17 October 2021
    • Monday 18 October until Tuesday 19 October 2021
    • Thursday 21 October until Sunday 24 October 2021
    • Monday 25 October until Sunday 31 October 2021

    The closures will be in place from 9pm each evening and be removed by 6am each weekday and 7am at the weekends.

    To ensure we create the least amount of disruption, we’ll keep the number of full closures to a minimum. All closures will have clear signed diversions in place.

    If you have any further questions relating to the contraflow switch, or would like to receive future traffic management updates, please email:

    M56Junctions6to8@gallifordtry.co.uk to register your details.

    Traffic management at Cow Lane overbridge

    We're continuing our work to install the off-network access paths beside Cow Lane overbridge. There will be temporary two-way traffic signals on Cow Lane installed for safely. They will be in place from:

    • 8am Monday 11 October to 6pm on Friday 15 October 2021

    Once this work is completed, work to install vehicle layby to allow safe access to the network for our colleagues. The temporary two-way traffic signals will continue to be in operation on the following dates:

    • 8am Monday 18 October to 6pm on Friday 22 October 2021
    • 8am Monday 25 October to 6pm on Friday 29 October 2021
    • 8am Monday 1 November to 6pm on Friday 5 November 2021

    We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued patience whilst we progress our work to upgrade this scheme.

     

  • 22 September 2021

    Switching contraflow onto the westbound carriageway

    We're pleased to inform you that work on the eastbound carriageway is almost complete. The next phase of work is planned to start in October on the westbound carriageway.

    Before we can start this phase, we need to move the traffic management i.e. the contraflow and reduced speed limit, onto the westbound carriageway.

    We plan to start moving the traffic management over from the 4 October and aim to finish by the end of October. To switch the traffic management over safely, we need to have a series of overnight lane, junction or full carriageway closures during this period.

    To ensure we create the least amount of disruption, we’ll keep the number of full closures to a minimum. All closures will have clear signed diversions in place. 

    Traffic management at Cow Lane overbridge

    We're continuing our work to install the off-network access paths beside Cow Lane overbridge. To carry this work out safely we’ll be installing some temporary two-way traffic signals on Cow Lane. They’ll be in operation from:

    • 8am Monday 4 October 2021 until 6pm, on Friday 8 October 2021
    • 8am Monday 11 October 2021 until 6pm, on Friday 15 October 2021

    If you have any further questions, or you would like to receive future traffic management updates, please email M56Junctions6to8@gallifordtry.co.uk to register your details.

  • 10 September 2021

    Further update on upcoming closures

    Following on from our update earlier this week, we would like to provide you with an update on our closure dates planned from 13 September for two weeks. We have reviewed our work and managed to reduce the amount of full closures needed to minimise disruption to the motorist.

    Our full overnight closures on the westbound carriageway are now planned on the dates listed below. These will be in place between 9pm and 6am:

    • Monday 13 September 
    • Tuesday 14 September
    • Thursday 16 September 

  • 08 September 2021

    Summer newsletter and upcoming closures

    This month, we’ll be completing work to install the remaining safety barrier, ducting and earthworks on the eastbound verge. On the westbound carriageway, there will be some vegetation clearance work taking place to clear overhanging branches, small bushes shrubs and trees. We’ll also be carrying out some ground investigation work and extending the narrow lanes on the westbound carriageway beyond junction 7.

    For safety reasons, we will need to complete this work at night under a full road closure.

    Full overnight closures of M56 between junctions 5 and 7

    • Monday 13 September – Friday 17 September (9pm – 6am)
    • Monday 20 September – Friday 24 September (9pm – 6am)

    Once complete, we plan to switch our construction activities over to the westbound carriageway. We plan to start the traffic management switch in October 2021. Further updates will be provided on the webpage once the dates have been confirmed.

    View the summer newsletter here.

Project information

Give us your feedback

Visit our M56 junctions 6 to 8 smart motorway feedback tool to have your say. The tool includes an interactive map. You can click on a location to make a specific comment, or give us your general feedback.

ECHO is a one-way feedback tool, so if you’d like a response to your feedback you can email the project team at: M56J6-8SmartMotorway@nationalhighways.co.uk

M56 J6-8 Smart Motorway feedback tool map image

This four-mile stretch of road, which is linked to several arterial trunk roads, is a vital part of the network for commuters and heavy goods vehicles travelling into Manchester city centre.

This section of the M56 carries in excess of 100,000 vehicles per day. Congestion and unreliable journey times are currently experienced at busy periods and traffic is predicted to grow in the future.

This scheme is part of our programme to add capacity to the existing strategic road network in order to support economic growth and maintain mobility.

The existing M56 is a rural dual three-lane motorway with a hard shoulder, with the exception of sections on both carriageways near junction 7 where the hard shoulder has been converted into additional running lanes. As part of this scheme, we will convert the hard shoulder into a running lane on the full stretch between junctions 6 and 7 and through junction 6 westbound.

The scheme involves:

  • converting the hard shoulder to create a new additional permanent traffic lane between junctions 6 and 8
  • new electronic information signs and signals and CCTV cameras on overhead gantries will show variable mandatory speed limits and manage traffic flow and incidents. We'll build seven new gantries and retain 11 existing ones
  • installing remotely operated temporary traffic management signs along the entire route, which form a key safety feature of the work
  • four new emergency areas to provide an area of relative safety following a breakdown
  • new emergency roadside telephones in each emergency area. These will connect you directly to our Regional Operations Centres and pinpoint your location
  • replacing the central reservation with a new concrete barrier to help increase safety
  • new low-noise surfacing on lanes 1 and 4 on both sides of the carriageway

It is expected that this smart motorway scheme will:

  • increase motorway capacity and reduce congestion on this key route into Manchester
  • smooth traffic flows by using variable speed limits
  • provide more reliable journey times to Manchester Airport
  • increase and improve the quality of information for the driver, for example, through variable messaging signs (in relation to the operation of the motorway)

The improvements will provide greater connectivity to other parts of the network through added lane capacity, supporting better freight transportation and contributing to local economic growth and planned development, such as Airport City.

Low-noise surfacing on lanes 1 and 4 in both directions will reduce noise for residents and road users. We'll provide some additional screening from the motorway by planting new native trees/vegetation along the route.

To complete this work safely, we'll use a number of measures including narrower lanes, a contraflow and lane restrictions.

Road closures

During the initial phases of the scheme, full road closures are needed to safely install the traffic management layouts. Once this has been done, narrow lanes, a contraflow and partial night closures will reduce the need for full closures by 65%.

Further critical works may require us to close lanes, slip roads and the motorway.

When closures are required, we'll only close the motorway at night to keep disruption to a minimum. Closures will start at 9pm and the road will be re-opened by 5am the following morning, with clearly signed diversions put in place. Any slip road or motorway closures will be agreed with local police and other stakeholders, and will be publicised well in advance.

Narrow lanes

Installing narrow lanes allows us to retain three lanes of traffic during daytime hours, while the improvement works are carried out. The additional space created at the side of the motorway provides a safer working environment for our workforce.

Contraflow

A contraflow is a temporary arrangement where traffic on the road is transferred from its usual side, to share the other half of the carriageway with traffic moving in the opposite direction.

Reduced speed limits

We’ve carried out a risk assessment which considered the road layout and the type of work we’re carrying out. This has shown us that the highest safe speed we can operate the road at while we work is 50mph.

The speed limit through our roadworks is enforced by the Police, so please don’t exceed this or you may receive a penalty notice. Just because workers are not visible, it does not mean they are not present. This is especially true when operations are happening at night, but this also applies when visibility is restricted by works vehicles and equipment.

Keep up to date with closure information

We advise you to plan ahead by checking Traffic England’s website for the latest travel information. Manchester Airport’s webpage also shares our closure information in advance.

You can also email the project team at M56Junctions6-8@Gallifordtry.co.uk to receive our weekly traffic management bulletin which is distributed every Friday and details any closures due to take place over the following two weeks.

Breakdown recovery

During construction we'll provide a free recovery service for anyone who breaks down within the roadworks. You and your vehicle will be taken to nearby Lymm motorway services, where you'll need to arrange to be collected by your own breakdown recovery company.

M56 junction 5 to 7 westbound strategic diversion 

M56 junction 9 to 5 eastbound strategic diversion

Westbound local diversion

Eastbound local diversion

Junction 5 westbound entry slip

Junction 6 westbound entry slip

Junction 6 eastbound exit slip

Junction 6 eastbound entry slip

Junction 7 (A556) eastbound entry slip

M56 junction 7 (A556) eastbound exit slip

M56 junction 6 westbound exit slip closure

M56 junction 6 eastbound diversion during full westbound closure

M56 junction 7 and junction 6 eastbound closure

M56 junction 6 and junction 7 westbound exit slips closure

Noise during the work

Where possible, the noisier operations will be done during the day. Some traffic management work, eg closing additional lanes, may need to take place at night. We’ll make every effort to limit the time taken on this.

We’ll minimise the impact on residents through the following measures: 

  • Where possible, we’ll use temporary noise screening
  • Where screening is not feasible, we’ll do vegetation clearance during the day.
  • Minimising noise at sensitive locations
  • Providing advance notice of noisy activities.

Noise resulting from the completed scheme

The Environment Assessment Report has shown that there will be no significant impact on residents as a result of the scheme. No homes are expected to qualify for noise insulation under the requirements of the Noise Insulation Regulations, therefore no new noise barriers are proposed.

As part of this project, lanes 1 and 4 will be resurfaced with low noise surfacing. We also plan to resurface lanes 2 and 3 following completion of the project.

Dust, vibration and the environment

Dust-causing work will be planned to avoid sensitive locations where possible, and the following measures will be applied:

  • Controlled vegetation clearance, standard pollution prevention control measures and measures to minimise dust, artificial lighting and noise.
  • Additional planting to replace the loss of, and in some instances improve, existing screening vegetation. Native UK species will be used in the proposed planting and will aim to improve biodiversity.
  • Protecting wildlife that is currently using the land within the proposed scheme or located close to it.

As part of the installation of key pieces of infrastructure such as gantries and emergency areas, some trees and vegetation will need to be removed. Vegetation clearance will be kept to a minimum to preserve as much of the highway verge screening and local ecology as possible. Where possible, vegetation that has been removed will be replaced.

Some of the required works can create vibration which may be felt in nearby properties situated close to the carriageway. The activities are used widely in the civil engineering industry and should not cause damage to either properties or their foundations.

The Environment Assessment Report considers impacts on noise and vibration, air quality, ecology and landscape and visual impacts.

Drainage

We carried out an assessment which showed that the project won't cause a significant increase in surface water run-off, but we will improve the drains to ensure they can manage any increase.

An essential drainage repair scheme was completed in August 2020. It fixed a number of issues that had been identified during surveys for the project.

Documents

Traffic information

Information about scheduled roadworks and events on our motorways and major roads.

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