Drivers and football fans urged to be vigilant on M621


10 Aug 2022

Drivers and football fans are being urged to to pay close attention to work on the M621

Drivers urged to be vigilant amid incursion fears on M621 upgrade

As work officially starts on the upgrade of the M621 near Leeds this week, drivers are being urged to pay close attention to changing road layouts to avoid driving into coned off areas. 

National Highways is also reminding pedestrians they should not be on the motorway at all after a number of incidents during preparatory work for the improvements between junctions 1 and 7. 

Over a three-week period there have been 11 incursions - instances of vehicles or people entering the works area - and it’s feared the problem could get worse with the start of the football season. 

National Highways project Manager James Finnigan said: 

“We are aware that minibuses taking sports fans to Elland Road regularly drop off their passengers on the entry and exit slip roads at junction 2, letting them walk the rest of the way. Not only is it extremely dangerous for vehicles to stop there, it’s incredibly risky, not to mention illegal, for people to be walking on any part of the motorway. 

“We urge anyone taking people to the stadium to find a much better and safer stopping place off the motorway.” 

Of the 11 incursions in the last three weeks, three were pedestrians.  

 Mr Finnigan added: 

“All three of those instances were in the evening, all three people appeared to be intoxicated and when stopped they all said walking along the motorway was the quickest way for them to get home. They possibly hadn’t considered the dangers involved. 

“We also had eight vehicles entering our roadworks which is a worrying statistic and why we are advising drivers to pay close attention to signage and the changing road layouts as work starts to progress on this project.  

“We will play our part by regularly reviewing the traffic management arrangements and signage to ensure things are as clear as they can possibly be. We want everyone to get home safe and well, and that goes for our workers too.

The M621 at junction 2

The upgrade to the M621 aims to ease congestion, increase capacity and enhance safety on the busy urban motorway.     

Once complete, it will boost economic growth through improving journey times, traffic flow at peak times and average speeds.    

The scheme will:    

  • Create additional lanes at the junction 2 roundabout and junction 3 westbound, as well as between junctions 1 and 3 where two short lengths of the existing hard shoulder will be converted to additional lanes for traffic.    
  • Enable vehicles to move more freely at existing junctions – reducing stopping traffic and the risk of slow speed collisions. Eastbound vehicles will no longer have to stop at junction 2 and will instead be able to move freely between the M621 and A643.     
  • Make improvements to junction 3 westbound, giving priority to the main M621 traffic, allowing it to flow more freely. Improvements at this junction will also remove conflicts where the traffic merges in this area.    
  • Permanently close the junction 2a exit slip road, reducing the risk of collisions resulting from the short distance between junctions 3 and 2a.    
  • Install additional information technology along the length of the motorway to safely manage traffic in the event of an incident and to keep drivers better informed.     

Initial work will include the installation of new average speed cameras, overhead electronic information signs and changes to the road layout to help traffic movements around junctions 2 and 3. Narrow lanes and traffic management will be introduced to keep road users and roadworkers safe during construction, whilst maintaining the maximum capacity for traffic.   

Although delivery partner Keltbray and its sub-contractors will be working as much as possible during the day, there will be the need for some overnight lane or road closures, which will be publicised in advance on the project webpage 

That page also features a 24/7 online exhibition about the upgrade and the ability to sign up for free email updates.