Extra motorway lanes saving drivers 40 minutes each week

Extra lanes and new technology on one of England’s busiest stretches of motorway are saving commuters up to 40 minutes each week.

Highways England completed the biggest ever upgrade of the M6 in Cheshire earlier this year, and figures from the first few months of operation show that peak-time drivers are now travelling up to 15 miles per hour faster than before work started.

Drivers travelling towards Crewe after 9am and leaving the office after 6pm are seeing the biggest improvement to their journeys – saving more than eight minutes along the 19-mile route every day.

Commuters working a nine-to-five shift near Manchester are also spending over 30 minutes less time on the road each week. They are now able to travel at an average speed of 66 miles per hour on their way home from work – 15 miles per hour faster than before work started on the upgrade.

And businesses are benefitting from faster and more reliable journeys throughout the day, with drivers travelling southbound previously facing average speeds of 50 miles per hour between midday and 1pm. They are now able to travel 14 miles per hour faster, saving almost six minutes along the route and cutting journey times by over a quarter.

Haulage firm Arclid Transport is based close to junction 17 of the M6 near Sandbach and delivers raw materials for a wide range of industries across the UK and Europe, including pharmaceutical, food manufacturing and detergent.

Managing director Andy Brookes said:

The upgrade of the M6 has made a significant improvement to journey times for our fleet at Arclid Transport. We carry out more than 300 movements a week and a large percentage of these originate from Sandbach, which is at the heart of the improved stretch.

The most noticeable factor is the reliability of the flow of traffic, meaning we are now more certain of estimated arrival times for our customers because there are far fewer delays.

Initial statistics from the first three months following the M6 smart motorway’s completion also show that the number of collisions along the route has fallen by around 30%. There were 97 incidents reported from April to June 2015 compared to 68 incidents during the same three months this year – an average of 10 fewer collisions every month.