The overhead signs – displaying variable mandatory speed limits and lane closure information – came into operation between junction 28 at Tingley and junction 30 at Rothwell on Monday at 10pm. Traffic cones and fixed-plate temporary signs were also removed.
For the safety of road users and road workers, the signs will remain constantly illuminated with a maximum mandatory speed limit of 50mph until those sections become fully operational. The speed limit may be reduced during busy periods, if needed, to help maintain traffic flow.
The hard shoulder between junctions 29 (Lofthouse) and 30 on the eastbound carriageway is not yet available as a traffic lane and is illegal to use, unless in an emergency.
However, the Highways Agency will be testing the technology and use of the hard shoulder as a running lane in the coming weeks – more details will be announced nearer the time.
On the westbound the hard shoulder has been converted to a permanent running lane, and the signs can be used to manage speeds and close lanes if needed.
The section between junctions 28 and 29 features permanent four-lane running and variable speeds will be introduced. The hard shoulder is not a traffic lane and should only be used in an emergency.
But the 50mph speed limit will remain in place on this section until trials on the neighbouring section between junctions 29 and 30 are completed.
Highways Agency project manager David Pilsworth said: “Activating the signs on the final two sections is a significant milestone for us, and we are working hard to ensure the scheme is completed in full as soon as possible. Drivers will then be able to start enjoying the benefits of reduced congestion and improved journey times between junction 25 and 30 of the M62 in West Yorkshire.
“We would like to take the opportunity to remind drivers to follow the overhead signs and signals at all times and, regardless of which section they are using, to only use the hard shoulder when it is indicated as an extra lane.”
The first three sections, between junctions 25 and 28, became fully operational as a managed motorway earlier in the summer.
The hard shoulder is permanent traffic lane between junctions 25 and 26, and may be opened between junctions 26 and 28 during peak times. If the electronic signs are not illuminated then normal motorway conditions apply.