Manchester Airport: Holidaymakers warned of delays as M56 work continues

Holidaymakers heading to Manchester Airport over the next few weeks were reminded to leave extra time for journeys as work continues on the M56.

The extra-time message was aimed at anyone travelling overnight from locations west of the airport – from the West Midlands, North Wales and parts of Cheshire – for late night and early morning flights between July 14 and August 6.

National Highways, which is delivering an £85 million upgrade of the motorway between junction 6 at Hale Barnes and junction 8 at Bowdon, has confirmed the eastbound M56 west of the airport will be closed nightly, apart from at weekends, over that period.

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The main junction for the airport – junction 5 – has remained open throughout the project but drivers using the eastbound M56 have had to take a diversion to get to junction 5 when occasional overnight closures of the carriageway from junction 7 at Altrincham have been in place.

Holidaymakers heading to Manchester Airport were reminded to leave extra time for journeys as work continued on the M56 (Credit: National Highways)

Local and motorway diversions will continue to be in place for the latest series of eastbound carriageway closures.

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Sajjad Ali, National Highways’ M56 upgrade project manager, said: “We’ve had overnight eastbound carriageway closures in place regularly over the last year as we’ve worked to deliver this vital investment in the region’s economy.

“The diversions have worked well but with activities at the airport ramping up for the summer after the pandemic we wanted to remind drivers to factor in some extra time for motorway journeys to the airport.

Some of this work involves installing signs on gantries over the eastbound carriageway (Credit: National Highways)

“It’s important to note we started liaising with Manchester Airport Group well before the M56 motorway upgrade even started.

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“We have an ongoing conversation with the airport about our construction programme and only close carriageways when we need the space to work safely.

“On nights when the eastbound carriageway is closed those good diversions will be in place but our key message for people heading to the airport for an early morning flight is to please spend a little time planning journeys before setting out and follow the diversion advice once you are approaching the airport.”

National Highways said it was working closely with the airport, Transport for Greater Manchester and its own regional operations centre to ensure the overnight closures were publicised in advance and signed on each night.

Full details of all the closures and diversion routes are on the project’s dedicated webpage.

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The four-mile section of motorway between junction 6 and junction 8 is part of the important corridor between Manchester and Manchester Airport and the Midlands.

As well as installing technology to help provide smoother journeys, National Highways has been converting the hard shoulders to add an extra running lane to both the westbound and eastbound carriageways.

A new central reservation concrete safety barrier, low noise surfacing, four emergency areas – providing a place to stop in the event of breakdowns or other emergencies – and technology to alert the control centre to breakdowns and incidents will also have been installed before the extra lanes open to drivers by the end of the year.