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The M60

Not the machine gun, nor the tank, nor the state highway in Southern Michigan but Manchester’s outer ring road. The only complete orbital motorway in the country (this is actually cobblers in my opinion because to do a full lap you have to get off the motorway and go round a roundabout but I digress). Built over a 40-year period and finally completed in 2000, it should be a big part of the answer to Manchester’s traffic problems.

Before the M60 we had the M62, the M66 and the M63. When all three were finally joined up it made eff all difference, apart from making it slightly quicker to get from Droylsden to Blackley. They widened it, it made eff all difference apart from providing an extra lane for traffic to park in.

Finally, in the glorious summer of 2018, Manchester’s smart motorway was completed. Leading up to this we have suffered 4 years of roadworks, night closures, blanket 50 limits day and night and narrow lanes. Over £200 million of the British taxpayers’ hard earned has been “invested”. We now have variable speed limits, gantries warning of impending doom and no hard shoulder in some stretches.

If I were writing the post-implementation review it would simply say this:

“4 years of work and £200 million has made absolutely **** all difference”

They’ll argue. They’ll say the gantries give you more information. Quite how a gantry saying “INCIDENT HEAD” OR “LANE CLOSURE” or “CONGESTION” is supposed to help me I do not know.

They’ll there’s no hard shoulder, there’s room for more cars they’ll say. This is true, but if those cars are stopped it’s not really helping anyone is it? And if you’re unfortunate enough to break down on one of the rare occasions when the traffic is moving, you’ll probably feel the blunt end of an articulated lorry up the wrong ‘un before the 4th emergency service can get to you.

What about those variable speed limits though? They help traffic flow. Not if it’s all ****ing stationary it won’t. You can flash up whatever speed you like but stopped is stopped.

The really annoying thing is that probably everyone who uses the M60 regularly already knew that making it a smart motorway would make **** all difference. Unlike other stretches where the problem is the sheer volume of traffic, Manchester’s is all about bottlenecks. E.g. the aforementioned roundabout. There are interchanges where all the traffic on the right needs to be on the left and vice versa. There are interchanges where, if you are driving cross-country and bypassing Manchester (you mad fools), you get squeezed into two lanes and faced with a 40mph bend. Throw thousands of ******s in Audis, BMWs and 4x4s who are far too important to get in the right lane before the last second but simply must be in the outside lane at all times and you get congestion. If they’d asked first, I’d have told them to save their money.

I hate every miserable, rutted, pot-holed mile of you.

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And don’t forget the narrow lanes as you get funnelled under the railway at Portwood/Stockport section!!

Oh and the queues that form at the M62 turn off because everyone just must go the the Trafford Centre Enjoy the smell from the massive sewage works!!

How can it be a ring road when you have to turn off it to continue on it! Durrrrr!!!
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By 2030 it'll probably be 10 lanes wide filtering into the same two lanes at the pinch points. The road planners will be scratching their heads saying "I don't understand it. We've made loads more room but It's still all ****ed up".
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I hate and detest every minute, every hour I waste almost daily on that car park.

You’re absolutely right. 4 years of roadworks and restrictions have made sod all difference. In fact, I’m not even convinced it’s actually any faster or freer flowing since they finished than it was during the works.

Too many interchanges/junctions too close together, just too much traffic and the impact that the almost inevitable daily shunts and breakdowns cause. It seems to take hours to clear any “incident”, and we all know that it’s choked for miles within minutes of one lane going down.
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Originally Posted by keithyboy View Post
By 2030 it'll probably be 10 lanes wide filtering into the same two lanes at the pinch points. The road planners will be scratching their heads saying "I don't understand it. We've made loads more room but It's still all ****ed up".
We actually need a north-south M60 bypass for those that want to just get past the city or to the outer reaches. I reckon that would flow fairly well and would cut the M60 issues by 30-50%.
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We actually need a north-south M60 bypass for those that want to just get past the city or to the outer reaches. I reckon that would flow fairly well and would cut the M60 issues by 30-50%.
Lol

Ah, what is needed is a bypass bypass. I think that is a similar concept to shortfall insurance, or as I more accurately call it; insurance insurance.

The double word thing is always a giveaway that something is not fit for purpose.

M60; SMART motorway?
If it remembered that S-M-A-R-T = Self Monitoring And Reporting Technology, I think it avoids any possible confusion with smart/intelligent/logical which clearly the M60 et all is/are not.
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Not the machine gun, nor the tank, nor the state highway in Southern Michigan but Manchester’s outer ring road.
Moving to Michigan might be the only salvation from motorway hell.
I've driven the M60 in Michigan, from Detroit to Chicago - the only problem I encountered was reckless opossums on the highway.
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Oh thank you Lord I don't have to commute on the M60. It's bad enough having to battle with the M62 first (that's another story) before I can get to Ringway. For those of you cursed with the commute on M62/M60 my heartfelt condolences.
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I'll admit, I haven't any experience of the M60, but we're having the same at the moment on the M27, just started following bloody years of it on the M3, and you're right it really makes sod all difference, other than causing untold agro and wasting money - not that that'll not be recouped by the speed cameras on the backs of the gantries....

Currently the M3 and M27 is a car park most days, this is just going to make things worse all the time, not just rush hour - within hours of the M3 opening as a smart motorway after about 4 years of average 50mph zones, some blert stacks it and reduces the posted speed to 40mph (not that anybody was able to do that).

They really want to take a leaf out of France or Germany's books, their roads are so much better, and at least when there's an accident, it's swept out of the way for others to be able to continue, not sit around for hours whilst an investigation takes place over a tiny shunt and stubbed toe - that and their major repairs can take hours, not months!
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We only really get traffic up here in the summer holidays, or if there's been an accident. That being said, I still struggle to average more than about 40mph on most roads due to tractors, sheep, cattle, old people in Corollas etc.
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We only really get traffic up here in the summer holidays, or if there's been an accident. That being said, I still struggle to average more than about 40mph on most roads due to tractors, sheep, cattle, old people in Corollas etc.
I've got a new-ish commute now that takes me well out of the way of the motorways - couldn't be happier - although I'll see your tractors and sheep and corrollas, and raise you hearses, pheasants, peacocks and Honda Jazz's.
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My commute is from the bedroom to the other bedroom. But sometimes my wife gets in the way, and I have to viciously barge her aside so as not to be late for work.

In fact, this morning was the first time I've had to drive through rush hour traffic in Congleton for about 2 years (to take the dog to the vet). I can't say I enjoyed the experience.
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I use the M60 every weekday as it is the easiest and usually quickest route to and from work.
I'm also very fortunate to have the best flexi-time you can imagine and as such start early and leave early therefore mostly I don't stop.
Last night my missus was visiting her children whom half of them we left in Oldham. I had to collect her and bring her home via Costco.
Traffic on the M60 was bad an we got home late.

I do understand calming traffic helps keep it flowing and I think at either side of peak times it makes a minimal difference (in effect when I travel) but not £200m worth of difference.

My buddy who almost goes in the opposite direction and uses the M60 from Urmston said that we would all forget what it was like before the road works but when they finish we will think it's great because we no longer have signs saying "My mum and dad work here". I think that must have been because parents felt they were on the M60 more than working.

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Statements above are all my own opinion and not fact.
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I hope it improves, as someone who has reason to use the M60 now and again, I feel your pain, I can only imagine how awful it is to have to use it everyday.

If it makes you feel any better, a lot of the SMART motorways were a bit pants when they were first opened up, and have got better over time. I read an article on it and how they work, so I'll try and explain here.

Th SMART system requires data, tons of data, and it feeds it all into an algorithm - by adjusting speed to A at point B then X happens at point Y. Obviously, volume of traffic affects this, time of day, weather, lighting conditions, basically loads of stuff. When the SMART Motorway is first turned "live" it uses a default program (bit like your default ECU settings in a car engine). It then sucks up data over time and constantly adjusts this. Sometimes it gets it right, sometimes it gets it wrong, but slowly it gets better.

I lived near Reading and did a weekly commute to Leeds when they first turned the M25 "SMART", and what you're complaining about now actually happened there; but eventually the system "learned" and it became excellent. Its now possible to drive round the M25 on the Friday Rush hour from the M3 to the M1 past Heathrow in the space of an hour now - albeit at 30mph but it's so much better than before with the crappy concertina effect causing accidents and frustration.

I saw it again on the M1 when they upgraded the Luton section, then the section near Leicester, then the section past Wakefield and into Leeds Leeds Leeds. The M62 between the A1(M) and Halifax was the same. Then the M3 from Camberley to London.

What it also requires is drivers actually doing what the signs are telling them. A required speed of 50mph means just that - if everyone actually drove at 50mph then the algorithm works. However, and there was a massive piece in the YEP about idiots getting caught out on the M62/M1 area, loads of drivers were spanking it between the camera gantries then slamming on before the cameras. Once a few tickets were sent out and drivers began to modify their behaviour, the situation improved.

So, a lot of ~words~ but all I can say is I hope it works out eventually, but have a bit of faith, it's tried and tested technology which has helped out on roads far worse than the M60, and remember to use your Cruise Control!

Last edited by Blackrichie; 25-10-18 at 10:08.
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Apart from having to the hellhole that is the HMRC,i can't complain...15 mins commute to my free city centre car parking space and about 20 mins home again.
Did i mention that i hate my work ??
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amfalconer View Post

They really want to take a leaf out of France or Germany's books, their roads are so much better, and at least when there's an accident, it's swept out of the way for others to be able to continue, not sit around for hours whilst an investigation takes place over a tiny shunt and stubbed toe - that and their major repairs can take hours, not months!
Also bear in mind that France and Germany are 2-3 times the size of Britain with roughly the same population, which does make driving over there much more of a pleasure.

They should also take look at road repairs in Japan. they use a rolling system where only 50 yards or so are out of commission at any one time being stripped, swept and resurfaced as they move along. The Japanese also seem to throw a lot more at the task too and there is no leaning on shovels watching the other bloke.
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and I thought the M25 was the worst motorway,
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and I thought the M25 was the worst motorway,
OH, it is..

The only mitigation is that it's so big that stretch of it can be completely fooked whilst the rest of it runs ok, less chance of contagion when it does go wrong.


( which it does often)

doesn't help that junction 21a is clear when your stuck at junction 6 though..
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I don't know the M60 but after reading Keithyboy's ode to a road I hate it too!
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I thought it was an ode to an Alfa gearbox in a 159 or something....
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I left earlier than normal for work this morning. Normal time to leave home is about 6:10am. Gets me to the M60 at about 6:20am. This morning I left earlier at 5:40am. By 5:50am I reached the M60 and all the signs were set to 60mph.
I did notice a lack of MLH's to the point only lanes one and two were in main use. Not sure what the 60mph was about but I now know it is true that MLH's are just very lazy and are not up at such times

Perhaps as mentioned above the system is learning and preparing the traffic flow
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I left earlier than normal for work this morning. Normal time to leave home is about 6:10am. Gets me to the M60 at about 6:20am. This morning I left earlier at 5:40am. By 5:50am I reached the M60 and all the signs were set to 60mph.
I did notice a lack of MLH's to the point only lanes one and two were in main use. Not sure what the 60mph was about but I now know it is true that MLH's are just very lazy and are not up at such times

Perhaps as mentioned above the system is learning and preparing the traffic flow

I had the opportunity to talk to someone from the Highways Agency a few years ago and he told me the following about a 60 limit on a smart motorway. If the gantries are set to 60mph it means we think something has happened but we're trying to find out exactly what and where.
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The real question is , what is the function of a ring road? Is it to keep long distance traffic off local roads or is it to allow short distance (junction to next junction) commuting? These two functions are not compatible and should not be combined. As mentioned above Manchester's problems are due to too many junctions and a constant need to be changing from slip road to outside lane and back to slip road again in a relatively short distance. The M62 is the Liverpool to Hull motorway which would indicate a long distance route connecting two ports, one serving the Irish Sea crossings and further afield destinations and the other crossings to the European mainland. To save money a length of this motorway has been absorbed into the ringroad and is now clogged because short distance commuting traffic is mixed up with long distance traffic. There is not a problem with the M6 passed Manchester because it is far enough out not to have been taken into the ring road and so the long distance traffic is seperated from short distance commuting. Build a new section of either ring road or M62 and the problem will be reduced. It could even be a pair of separate carriageways alongside the existing ones. Limit the access to the M62 to no more than one junction between 12 and 18 in addition to 12 and 18 themselves and then commuters will only have to deal with local traffic like themselves. Alternatively provide a decent mass transit system that means commuters don't have to take cars into the city (defined as the built up area within the ringroad)

Volume of traffic is what is clogging motorways and even continental Europe is not immune ask anyone who regularly drives through Germany/Italy past their large connurbations.
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Alternatively provide a decent mass transit system that means commuters don't have to take cars into the city (defined as the built up area within the ringroad)
^ This.

If Manchester is to be the hub of a Northern powerhouse then it needs a tube system to Paris or London standards, but with the addition of an outer circular railway that means fewer journeys into the centre. We'd better get digging, or at least lobbying MPs for the billions to do it.
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Having experienced the M25 a bit in the last week - at least the road surface on the M60 isn't some weird corrugated concrete approach.
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