M62 and M1: West Yorkshire motorway central barrier upgrades take big steps forward

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Enough earth to fill two Olympic swimming pools has been removed from the M1 and M62 and replaced as part of a major central barrier upgrade improving future journeys for motorists in West Yorkshire.

Since January this year, National Highways has also removed around 16,000 metres of steel barrier – almost enough to reach the top of Mount Everest and back down again – from the central reservations of the motorways, ready to replace it with a stronger, safer concrete version.

It is part of a major scheme to replace around 2.5 miles of the steel central barrier with a concrete one between junctions 42 of the M1 (Lofthouse) and 43 (Belle Isle) and at junction seven of the M621 (Stourton).

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Since the start of this year, National Highways has also been upgrading just over three miles of steel central barrier to concrete on the M62 between junctions 28 (Tingley) and 29 (Lofthouse).

Work progresses on the M62 central barrier.Work progresses on the M62 central barrier.
Work progresses on the M62 central barrier.

Daniel Edwards, National Highways project manager, said: “The programme of work remains on schedule, with some really strong progress made on the upgrade.

“Once they have been replaced, drivers will see improvements.

“Concrete barriers are stronger than steel ones, which will reduce the risk of vehicles crossing from one carriageway to the other.

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“They also last far longer than metal, which will mean fewer closures for routine repairs in the future and therefore less disruption.”

The barrier upgrade continues to progress.The barrier upgrade continues to progress.
The barrier upgrade continues to progress.

Since the scheme began on the M1:

  • 1496m3 of earth has been removed from the central reservation and replaced with a superior type of material, ready for the new concrete barrier

  • 6706m of steel barrier has been removed

  • 6700m of temporary central barrier to keep the workforce safe – has been installed

And on the M62:  

  • 4400m3 of earth has been removed

  • 9020m of steel barrier has been removed

  • 8700 of temporary barrier has been put in place

Teams have been working night and day to progress the scheme.

To keep the workforce safe, more than four miles of temporary central barrier has been installed on the M1, with five- and- a half miles of temporary barrier installed on the M62.

Lighting is being upgraded on these sections of road, with drainage improvements also being completed overnight.

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Since January, the outside lanes of both the east and westbound carriageways have also been closed 24 hours a day, seven days a week between junctions 29 and 28 on the M62.

A 50mph speed limit is also in place in these areas. The programme of work on the M62 is expected to be completed in September 2023.

In addition, the outside lane between junction 42 of the M1 and junction six of the M621 is closed in both directions, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The closures are expected to remain in place until winter 2023.

Daniel added: “We have done our best to minimise disruption and keep traffic flowing as smoothly as possible.

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“We have tried to keep as much of the road open as possible, while at the same time keeping the workforce safe.

“This has meant the workforce has had a confined area to work in – a space of 3.7m at its narrowest points. In this relatively small space, our teams have carried out a great deal of work and we’ve been able to make strong progress as a result.

“We have had to close the outside lane for the safety of the workforce, to enable them to carry out the work as quickly and effectively as possible.

“We are aware that the closures have caused disruption and delays, especially during peak hours.

“Once again, we would like to thank everyone for their patience while this essential work is completed.

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“We strongly advise anyone planning to travel in this area to allow more time to get to their destination and, if at all possible, find alternative routes and plan their journeys to avoid peak times.”

For times and dates for future full and lane closures, visit https://nationalhighways.co.uk/our-roads/yorkshire-and-north-east/

For more information, contact 0300 123 5000 or email [email protected].

For more information on this and other work in Yorkshire and the North East, visit https://nationalhighways.co.uk/our-roads/yorkshire-and-north-east/.

Alternatively, follow Twitter @HighwaysYORKS or on Facebook - National Highways: Yorkshire.