MOTORISTS from across the region are being urged to plan ahead of travelling this weekend due to a number of large events taking place.

Music lovers heading to Old Trafford, the Etihad Stadium and the annual Parklife festival at Manchester’s Heaton Park this weekend are being encouraged to consider using public transport.

National Highways is warning drivers that congestion is likely on the motorway network at key times over the weekend – including on the M6, M62 and M56.

This year, as well as Parklife on Saturday and Sunday, Ed Sheeran is playing all four nights of the weekend at the Etihad Stadium from Thursday, while the Killers are headlining at Emirates Old Trafford on Saturday.

More than 200,000 people are expected to be in, around or passing through Manchester over the weekend.

National Highways is issuing its usual advice for motorway users, with Parklife at Heaton Park bordered by the M60 between junction 17 at Whitefield and junction 19 at Middleton including Simister Island at junction 18 where the M60 meets the M62 and M66.

Anyone using the motorways is being advised to expect congestion – especially when concert goers are leaving Parklife each night from around 9pm onwards, potentially into the early hours.

National Highways traffic officers will be working with Greater Manchester Police throughout the event to keep drivers on the move, keep pedestrians away from the motorway and prevent drivers dropping off or picking up from the hard shoulders or carriageways.

National Highways traffic officers at the north west operations centre in Newton-le-Willows will be closely monitoring motorway traffic using cameras, with patrols out and about to manage traffic and keep drivers on the move.

Electronic variable message signs will be used to advise motorway users of the event in advance as well as over the weekend to warn of incidents and any congestion.

Chris Chadwick, senior network planner for National Highways in the north west, said: “We have ensured there are no roadworks on key routes over the weekend.

“We do not expect any major congestion problems, but people should not just leave the house and hope for the best.

“Our message to anyone thinking of driving to or around Manchester over the weekend is to plan your journey and certainly check traffic conditions before setting out.

“If you are going to one of the events, please give yourself plenty of time.”

Full information on public transport options for each of the weekend’s events is available via

National Highways provides live traffic information via its website, radio travel bulletins, electronic road signs and at @highwaysNWEST on Twitter.