Highways England has completed a £4.1 million transformation of a busy M6 junction near St Helens.
The scheme at junction 23 of the M6 where it meets the A49 and the A580 East Lancs Road has significantly increased the capacity of the junction, which is known as Haydock Island.
The new road layout means that drivers can now cut through the centre of the roundabout to turn right onto the M6 or the A49 Lodge Lane, rather having to travel all the way around it. Vehicles leaving the M6 or A49 will also be able to turn right onto the A580, bypassing the roundabout.
The lanes through the centre of the roundabout were previously only used by drivers staying on the A580 but two extra lanes have now been added in each direction to allow drivers to turn right.
A dedicated left-turn lane has also been created for the A49 from the roundabout; the exit slip road from the northbound M6 has been extended; and the entire junction has been resurfaced with an antiskid coating.
A new traffic light system has also been installed, using sensors to monitor traffic levels and adjust the lights accordingly.
Dr Andrew Kimmance, project manager at Highways England, said: “This project will benefit the thousands of people who use junction 23 every day to travel between the M6, A580 and A49, and we’d like to thank drivers for bearing with us while the work to upgrade the junction has been taking place.
“The extra lanes mean that the vast majority of drivers no longer need to travel around the roundabout, and instead can take a shortcut straight through the centre. We realise it might take drivers some time to get used to the new road layout, but we’ve installed signs and road markings to explain how it works.
The better slip roads and new traffic lights will also help to make it much easier and quicker for people to travel through the junction, benefiting both the local and regional economy as well as improving safety.”