THE ORGANISATION behind the Smart Motorway upgrades has announced plans to stagger a number of regional projects to ease traffic concerns.

Highways England will now start work on the the M56 close to Manchester Airport and the M6 between Warrington and Wigan after it has completed its current programme of upgrades.

These include a major section of the M62 running into the M60 from Liverpool, set to be completed by 2020, and another upgrade of the M62 leading out of the M60 around Rochdale, which will began later this year.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, hailed the decision to stagger the work schemes.

“This will ensure the schemes are phased in a way that will minimise disruption for road users,” he said.

“When these upgrades are complete, they should not only boost highway capacity but also help to reduce congestion and improve the reliability of the motorway network.

"However, in the meantime, it is absolutely right that Highways England take action to plan and coordinate these important motorway improvements in a better way.