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 Autumn 2022
Cost TBC

Latest updates

  • 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.

  • 04 August 2021

    Update on work - August 2021

    In July, we continued our work to install new safety barriers and kerbs along the eastbound carriageway. We completed our bridge refurbishment on Wilmslow Road bridge and Cow Lane overbridge along the eastbound side of the motorway.

    This month, we’ll be carrying out work to install kerbs, safety barriers, technology sites and maintenance access paths. We’ll be continuing to resurface lane one before we move our construction work over to upgrade the westbound carriageway.

    This means from the Monday 9 August, we’ll be closing the westbound carriageway for five nights between junctions 5 and 7. We’ll be extending the narrow lanes past junction 7, carrying out some surface repair work, surveys and clearing some vegetation. This will include clearing overhanging branches, small bushes, shrubs and trees.

    On the eastbound carriageway, we’ll be closing lane one and two, diverting all traffic through the contraflow. The westbound carriageway will be fully closed between junctions 5 and 7.

    All the closures will start at 9pm each evening and be removed by 6am each weekday morning and 7am on Saturday morning. If you have any questions or would like to know more about this work or sign up to receive our scheme newsletters and traffic management bulletins, please contact the scheme inbox: M56Junctions6-8@gallifordtry.co.uk

    All diversion routes will be clearly signed. For the most up to date traffic information please visit Traffic England.

  • 16 July 2021

    Further update on work - July 2021

    Junction 7 westbound exit slip (to A556) closures

    As part of the M6 J19 improvement scheme, there are planned closures on the junction 7 westbound exit slip road. This will be in place Monday to Friday from 9pm to 6am until the end of October 2021.

    To view the diversion on google maps please click here please allow an additional 15 minutes to your journey time.

    All queries relating to the above closures should be directed to M6Junction19Improvement@highwaysengland.co.uk

     

     

  • 01 July 2021

    Update on work - July 2021

    Throughout June, we’ve been installing new kerbs at the side of the road and building the maintenance access paths to the new technology sites. We’ve also been doing some earth work to reinstate the verges and put topsoil around the new structures on the eastbound carriageway. 

    Our bridge refurbishment work has been continuing at Wilmslow road, Cow Lane Overbridge and Ashley Rail Bridge. We’ve been installing the new road safety barrier in the verge and traffic signs along the side of the road.

    Before we move to phase 2 of our construction activity on the westbound carriageway, we’ll be resurfacing the hard shoulder on the eastbound carriageway with a low noise surface material.

    We’re planning to start this work in the middle of July, and this will continue throughout the month and into the beginning of August. We’ll carry this work out overnight from Monday to Friday between the hours of 9pm and 6am. This is because it’s safer for our teams to carry out this work during the night under traffic management. We’ll be closing lanes 1 and 2 and diverting all traffic through the contraflow lane.

    We also plan to have four overnight closures on the westbound carriageway between junctions 5 and 8. During these closures we’ll be changing the traffic management layout on the westbound carriageway, to extend the narrow lanes past junction 7. Following customer feedback, we’ll also be carrying out lining work and essential carriageway repairs.

    To make the most of this closure we’re working closely with our colleagues who’ll be carrying out essential survey work and vegetation maintenance. This will include grass cutting and trimming back overhanging branches on both sides of the road and the central reservation. By carrying out this work at the same time, we’re reducing the amount of full closures needed and disruption for our customers.

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

    All diversion routes will be clearly signed. For the most up to date traffic information please visit: Traffic England.

  • 11 June 2021

    Update on work - June 2021

    During May we finished installing all the gantry base foundations for the new overhead structures. We also completed our work to upgrade the existing drainage under the road, and we’ve installed extra drainage to make sure that water does not stand on the road during heavy rain. We’ve also recently carried out some road surface repairs, site clearance work and surveys before we move over to start the upgrade on the westbound carriageway. We’re now continuing with earthwork to regrade and reinstate the verges at the side of the road.

    In June we’ll be installing kerbs, safety barriers and maintenance access paths to the new technology sites. We’ll also be resurfacing the entire length of the new traffic lane with a low noise road surface material.

    To carry out our work safely, we’ll be using overnight closures of the entry and exit slip roads at junctions 6 and 7, and lane 1 and 2 closures on the carriageway. All closures will be in place from 8pm until 6am.

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

    All diversion routes will be clearly signed. For the most up to date traffic information please visit Traffic England.

  • 07 May 2021

    Update on work - May 2021

    In March we removed existing gantries from the motorway. To do this work safely we had three full overnight closures on the westbound carriageway. To make the most of these closures, we also carried out drainage surveys, road surface repairs, and some vegetation clearance from the verge.

    During April we finished building the retaining walls at two of the Emergency Areas and four of the new technology sites. We’ve now started to install the drainage within the Emergency Areas.

    We’re also continuing with work to refurbish Cow Lane, Wilmslow Bridge, and Ashley Rail Bridge. Each of these bridges cross the M56 and were in need of repairs.

    Other upcoming work that we’ll be carrying out includes:

    • continuing to install combined kerb and drainage to manage road surface water
    • building the bases for the new overhead structures
    • installing new permanent traffic signage
    • undertaking surface repairs and installing low-noise resurfacing on lane one on the eastbound carriageway
    • carrying out surveys to check the existing drainage and clearing overhanging branches, small bushes, shrubs, and trees along the westbound carriageway in advance of starting work to upgrade that side of the motorway

    To carry out our work safely, we’ll need to have overnight entry and exit slip road closures and a full overnight closure of the westbound carriageway from 9pm until 6am.

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

    All diversion routes will be clearly signed. For the most up to date traffic information please visit Traffic England.

    You can view our diversion routes below.

    See our latest project newsletter for more information about the project.

  • 22 March 2021

    Update on work - March 2021

    We’ve finished work to remove the existing electronic signs and CCTV from the overhead structures along the eastbound carriageway.

    From March 2021 onwards we’ll be carrying out works on the eastbound carriageway which include:

    • Installing a permanent safety barrier and bases for the new structures
    • earthwork excavation to add new technology equipment
    • new ducting and cables into the ground which will power the new technology
    • fitting a new drainage system to collect water from the roadside
    • building retaining walls for the new Emergency Areas

    To carry out these works safely, we’ll need to have overnight entry and exit slip road closures and full overnight closures on both sides of the carriageway from 9pm until 5am.

    All diversion routes will be clearly signed. For the most up to date traffic information please visit Traffic England.

    Alternatively, if you would like to be added to our scheme traffic management bulletin please email M56Junctions6-8@Gallifordtry.co.uk

    You can read more about our progress so far in our latest project newsletter. 

    Virtual sessions with the project team

    Due to current coronavirus and social distancing measures, it’s not possible to invite you to our site offices or meet with you face-to-face.

    We’re offering appointments on Microsoft Teams for anyone who has questions relating to our scheme. You can join a Teams call, from any mobile device or computer even if you don’t have a Teams account. Find out how here

    To book a virtual meeting please email us M56Junctions6-8@Gallifordtry.co.uk

    Our Christmas charity donation

    At Christmas we held a raffle for the team and raised £100. We donated the money to The Children’s Adventure Farm Trust. It’s a special place where terminally ill, disabled and socially disadvantaged children can have a break away from their circumstances in Millington near Altrincham. 

    Ian Eccles, CEO of the trust said "We are very proud and pleased to have provided opportunities for over 5,000 children and their families to visit the farm since lockdown one ended in May 2020.

    The feedback on what these visits mean to the children and their families during this strangest of times has been truly heart-warming.

    Your kind donation will help make more fantastic memories for the most deserving children, so from all of us here, and the children and their families we support, a huge thank you!"

  • 12 January 2021

    January 2021 – Upcoming work

    From January 2021 onwards, we’ll be carrying out work to remove the existing electronic signs and CCTV from the overhead structures. We’ll also remove some of the smaller digital roadside signs on both sides of the carriageway between junctions 6 and 8.

    Other upcoming works will include:

    • kerb and pavement repair work
    • earthworks including the regrading of existing slopes, construction of a piling platform, some excavation works for structures and drainage work with some gully repairs
    • installation of new ducting, cabinets and cables for the technology and communications  
    • removal and replacement of street furniture such as existing motorway traffic signs, technology equipment and vehicle barriers
    • installation of ducts under the carriageways to carry cables across the road
    • construction of retaining walls for the emergency access areas and for the technology equipment

    In order to carry out these works safely, we will need to have lane, slip road and full overnight closures of the carriageway.

    All diversion routes will be clearly signed. For the most up to date traffic information please visit Traffic England.

    Alternatively, if you would like to be added to our weekly traffic management bulletin please email M56Junctions6-8@Gallifordtry.co.uk

    You can view our diversion routes for any closures below.

    See our latest project newsletter for more information about the project.

  • 18 December 2020

    Planned works for the New Year

    Over the Christmas and New Year period, although you may not see work being carried out, our traffic management and the 50mph temporary speed limit will need to remain in place for the safety of road users.

    From January 2021 onwards, we’ll be carrying out work to remove the existing electronic signs and CCTV from the overhead structures, and also remove some of the smaller digital roadside signs on both sides of the carriageway between junctions 6 and 8. Other upcoming works will include:

    • pavement repair works at junction 6
    • installation of a temporary concrete safety barrier system to allow the existing safety barrier to be removed
    • earthworks and drainage work with some gully repairs
    • installation of new ducting for the new technology cables

    In order to carry out these works safely, we will need to have overnight entry and exit slip road closures, and also some full overnight closures of the carriageway.

    All diversion routes will be clearly signed. For the most up to date traffic information please visit Traffic England.

    Alternatively if you would like to be added to our scheme traffic management bulletin please email M56Junctions6-8@Gallifordtry.co.uk

    You can view our diversion routes for any closures below.

  • 02 November 2020

    Start of main construction work

    The M56 junctions 6 to 8 scheme is part of our programme to add capacity to the motorway network. The upgrade will reduce congestion levels and smooth traffic flows, providing more reliable journey times.

    Earlier this year we began clearing vegetation in the motorway verge, and we’ll now be starting the main construction work on the project in November 2020. We expect to complete our main construction work by March 2022.

    Construction will inevitably have some impact on road users, the local community and businesses. To reduce the impact on road users, we’ll be installing a contraflow system and narrow lanes to maintain three lanes running in each direction during the day. There will be a reduced speed limit of 50mph throughout our roadworks.

    These measures are being put in place to allow road users to continue travelling through our roadworks without compromising their safety, or that of our workforce. We expect that the average journey time will only increase by a maximum of 2 minutes during our roadworks.

    We will need to use occasional overnight closures of the motorway to complete work which cannot be carried out safely with traffic using the road. We will keep closures to an absolute minimum in order to cause the least disruption possible. Wherever possible, the noisier operations will be carried out during the day to reduce disturbance on communities.

    When closures are required, closure information will be advertised on Traffic England and sent to stakeholders via email. Clearly signed diversions will be in place.

    We’ll also operate a 24/7 free recovery service throughout our roadworks, to help any stranded vehicles that have broken down within our work area.

    Contraflow

    A contraflow is a temporary arrangement where traffic is transferred from its usual side to share the other half of the carriageway with traffic moving in the opposite direction. This layout will provide a wider working space in the verge, allowing our teams to safely speed up certain construction activities. A contraflow will reduce the amount of overnight closures we need, which will benefit road users and residents living on diversion routes.

    The contraflow allows us to carry out larger activities during that day that we’d normally have to carry out at night with a closure. As there is more space in the verge to work, site vehicles will be able to pass each other without having to wait until another team has finished an activity. As there will be less traffic management to install overnight, this gives us a greater working window to complete the project quickly.

    View contraflow diagram.

    For diversion routes, please see the folder below, under 'Project information'.

Project information

Overview

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.

Strategic diversion

Westbound

Eastbound

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 Jct 7 (A556) Eastbound Exit Slip

M56 J6 Westbound Exit Slip Closure

M56 Junction 6 eastbound diversion during full westbound closure

M56 Junction 7 and Junction 6 eastbound closure

M56 J6 and J7 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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