The new £175M million M6 Carlisle to Guards Mill extension scheme is "on target for completion in winter 2008," according to Highways Agency project manager David Brindle.
Carillion is carrying out the work on the 9.3km section of the A74 which is designed to reduce congestion, improve safety and make journeys more reliable for road-users.
The first major milestone in the development of the route was the recent completion of the new bridge over the River Esk. In March, traffic will be switched on to the new bridge and will carry both southbound and northbound vehicles over the river - the first traffic to be diverted onto the M6 extension. The switch will then allow work to be carried out on the existing River Esk crossing.
The new bridge was constructed using innovative techniques that meant the bridge deck was built away from the water and then winched across the river bit by bit as additional sections were welded into place. The technique avoided the need to work over the river, which substantially reduced danger to the workforce and the threat of pollution to the watercourse.
A second milestone is now close as the Agency nears completion of a new crossing over the West Coast Mainline Railway.
The traffic switch will allow work to begin on refurbishing the existing bridge which will eventually carry northbound motorway traffic and local non motorway traffic over the River Esk.
Brindle added: "We are also progressing well with a crucial new structure that will carry the motorway over the West Coast Mainline Railway and this is on programme for completion in summer." Other work nearly completed includes the new weighbridge being built for VOSA, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency.