M56 J6-8 Smart Motorway

Scheme outline

Conversion of the M56 between junctions 6 (the A538 at Ringway) and 7/8 (the A556 at Bowdon) to Smart Motorway.

As part of the works, the hard shoulder will be converted into a fourth permanent running lane ("All Lane Running") between junctions 6 and 7, and westbound through junction 6. The hard shoulder will not be converted through junction 6 eastbound, so for traffic travelling towards Manchester, the left-hand lane will exit at junction 6 and return afterwards.

The scheme will also involve the installation of four new emergency refuge areas, electronic signalling and surveillance equipment, the introduction of mandatory variable speed limits, and new low noise surfacing.

In early 2019, Highways England announced that this scheme's start date would be deferred to reduce the number of disruptive roadworks projects happening in parallel on motorways in the north west.

This scheme is part of the Smart Motorways programme of works.

In preparation
Other upgrade
under motorway restrictions
Highway authority


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12 July 2019

This scheme has now been delayed, with early preparation works due to start in late 2019 and full works in spring 2020. These dates are dependent on the progress of other schemes in the area.

More information