A NEW sensor-controlled traffic light system is due to be up and running at a busy M6 junction by the end of next week, improving journey times for drivers.
Highways England had hoped to be able to start using the system at junction 23 of the M6, known as Haydock Island, when the new road layout opened last month following a £4.1 million transformation.
However a timed system is currently being used while engineers work to fix teething issues with the sensor-controlled lights. The traffic lights on the A49 approaches to the junction have also been temporarily switched off to reduce queuing.
All of the remaining work at the roundabout, including landscaping and footpath surfacing, is due to be completed by Monday 15 June when the new traffic light system will also go live, with the most of the work taking place overnight.
The new system uses sensors to monitor traffic levels and adjust the traffic light settings accordingly to minimise queuing.
Andy Withington, Asset Delivery Manager at Highways England, said:
“We’d like to thank drivers for their patience while we work to get the new traffic light system up and running, and also to apologise for the congestion they may have experienced in the past few weeks.
“We have temporarily switched off the traffic lights on the A49 approaches so that drivers can use the junction as a normal roundabout. Drivers travelling on the A580 should still find it much quicker to use the shortcut through the centre of the roundabout as we now have four lanes running in each direction, including dedicated lanes for the M6.
“We are doing everything we can to resolve the teething issues we’ve had with the new traffic lights so that road users can start fully benefiting from the improved layout as quickly as possible.”
The new road layout means that drivers can now cut through the centre of the roundabout to turn right onto the M6 rather than having to travel all the way around it. Vehicles leaving the M6 can also turn right onto the A580 East Lancs Road, bypassing the roundabout, which will reduce congestion overall.
A dedicated left-turn lane has been created for the A49 from the roundabout; the exit slip road from the northbound M6 has been extended; and the entire junction has been resurfaced with an antiskid coating.
The project is one of Highways England’s pinch point schemes, which aim to help stimulate new development and local economic growth by improving road safety and tackling congestion bottlenecks.