BRITAIN'S LARGEST motorway ring road, after London's M25, comes into existence this week with the creation of the 56km M60 which will surround greater Manchester after completion of the final section in 2000.
Most of the motorway box uses sections of the former M66 and M63. From this week the route of the trans Pennine M62 is broken, with a 10km length to the north of Manchester incorporated into the new M60.
Continuing delays of up to a year on the three M66 construction contracts which will complete the 17km north eastern section of the orbital route mean that traffic will still have to be diverted on to primary roads (NCE 1/8 January).
First stage of an £8M re-signing contract has converted sections of three different motor- ways into the orbital M60 in an attempt to guide traffic through one of the country's densest motorway networks.
More than 250 overhead gantry signs have already been changed by contractor Prismo. And over the next year all 400 existing roadside verge signs will be replaced by new style reflective micro prismatic facings that need no external lighting.
Additionally, 200 new variable message signs are being fixed to overhead gantries to allow Manchester's fledgling Motorway Incident Detection & Automatic Signalling system (MIDAS) to be extended to the ring road.