A STRETCH of the M56 currently undergoing roadworks has seen its speed limit raised to 70mph.

Work on the motorway between Altrincham and Hale has been increased from 60mph, which has been in place since the end of March, when an extra lane in each carriageway was opened to drivers.

National Highways says the move will help to improve journey times and reliability for the tens of thousands of drivers who use the route daily.

Operation at the maximum national speed limit of 70mph was introduced following work to calibrate technology, including stopped vehicle detection.

A separate project involving overnight work to resurface lanes along both carriageways started at the end of May, and this will continue until the end of July.

The M56 junction six to eight ‘upgrade’ began in March 2020, and alongside adding an extra lane both eastbound and westbound, the project has involved providing extra technology and safety enhancements.

These include stopped vehicle detection technology and the ability to use variable speed limits to smooth traffic.

Stopped vehicle detection uses radar technology to alert National Highways’ control centre operators, who can then close lanes with a red X signal, display speed limits and deploy traffic officers. 

Drivers are also able to use any of the four new orange coloured emergency areas if they need to stop in an emergency only.

National Highways says they provide a safer place to stop than a hard shoulder, as they are set back from the carriageway and are also wider than a hard shoulder.