Five-mile safety upgrade unveiled between Leeds and Wakefield is complete
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In total, more than five miles of barrier between junctions 28 (Tingley) and 29 (Lofthouse) on the M62, as well as between 42 and 43 (Belle Isle) on the M1 and junction 7 of the M621 (Stourton), has been replaced with a stronger, safer concrete version.
National Highways Project Manager Daniel Edwards said: “We’ve worked day and night to put in place a stronger barrier on these areas of motorway.
"The barrier will reduce the likelihood of vehicles crossing from one carriageway to the other and will mean fewer closures for repairs in the future.”
The scheme began in January this year. As the upgrades have progressed, National Highways has removed around 16,000 metres of steel barrier and almost 6,000 cubic metres of earth, replacing them with superior materials.
Lighting has also been upgraded to LED, further enhancing safety for drivers. In addition, National Highways has also improved around three miles of drainage, waterproofed the central reserve of two bridges and carried out further general maintenance.
Once the concrete barrier was in place on the M62, National Highways also undertook repairs to the central column of Dolphin Lane footbridge near Thorpe on the Hill.
On the M1 and M62, road closures had been expected to remain in place on the scheme until winter – however, the final part of the upgrade, on the M62 between junctions 29 (Lofthouse) and 28 (Tingley), is now complete.
Daniel said: “While we carried this work out, we tried our best to keep traffic flowing as smoothly as possible while keeping our workforce safe.
“Our engineers had very confined spaces to work in, but they really did everything in their power to successfully carry out the upgrade – and well ahead of schedule too. We are so proud of everything our teams have achieved despite the constraints.
“We also recognise that, due to the closures we had to put in place, drivers unfortunately faced delays to their journeys.
"We want to say a massive thank you to them for their patience during this scheme. We are genuinely very grateful for their support and are glad to have been able to reopen the lanes earlier than expected, reducing longer-term disruption.”
As well as bringing benefits to motorists, the programme has also provided support worth a total of £3.3m to the surrounding community.
As part of this, the teams from National Highways and contractors connected to the programme gave 49 hours supporting local career events.
They went to Westerton Primary School, Airedale Academy, HMP New Hall, Outwood Grange Academy, Freeston Academy, Rodillian Academy, Oulton Academy and Crofton Academy carrying out mock interviews, attending careers fairs and giving career talks.
They also spent 59 hours volunteering in areas such as Rothwell Park, Armley Park, Middleton Railway Museum and Adel Wood Park, helped with donations for Yorkshire Air Ambulance and spent over £3m with local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Their work still continues – some of the team are taking part in The Big Sleep in November, where volunteers will send a night sleeping outside to raise awareness of some of Leeds’ most vulnerable people.