KEY workers using the M62 between Warrington and Manchester can now use extra lanes to reach their destinations.

After two years of delays, overnight closures and 50mph speed limits, Highways England has opened a fourth lane in each direction on the nine-mile stretch of motorway which links the M6 (junction 10) to the M60 and M602 (junction 12).

The extra lanes were opened last night but people are being reminded that they must stay at home to stop the spread of coronavirus and should only travel for the specific reasons the government has set out.

A 50mph speed limit will remain in place on the M62 during the next few months for safety reasons while work takes place to install, test and commission new technology along the route.

Highways England will continue to provide a free recovery service during this work, and drivers will be able to use one of 11 new emergency areas if they experience difficulties on the motorway.

CCTV cameras will also continue to monitor the motorway 24 hours a day and control room operators will be able to reduce the speed limit to 40mph and display warning messages during incidents.

A variable speed limit of up to 70mph will be introduced on the motorway later in the year to help improve the flow of traffic and prevent stop-start conditions.

All Highways England sites have strict safeguarding measures, in line with Public Health England guidance, to prevent the spread of COVID19 and no sites are open to the public.

Earlier this year, a government review took place to check on the safety of smart motorways.

As a result, an 18-point 'action plan' to boost smart motorway safety has been launched by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Measures included more places to stop in an emergency and faster roll-out of a radar-based system to detect broken down vehicles.

Speaking at the time of the review, a spokesman for Highways England said 'stopped vehicle detection technology will be added in the future as set out in the government’s smart motorway action plan'.

More details on the M62 smart motorway project are available at