THESE impressive images show the scale of the work done on the M56 during a weekend-long closure last month.

The motorway was closed in both directions for Mother's Day weekend with a diversion on the M6, M60 and M62.

Most of the work revolved around the installation of two 60-tonne gantries which span all lanes of both carriageways, as a part of the M56's multi-million-pound transformation into a smart motorway, although a number of other tasks were also completed.

Clare Bond, of National Highways, thanked drivers for their patience during the closure, which lasted more than 50 hours in total.

READ MORE: Plan for M56 motorway services outside Trafford divides residents.

She said: "The installation of the two huge gantries was the most eye-catching operation over the whole weekend, but we also got on with dozens of other tasks.

"Our operational colleagues at National Highways who are responsible for the day-to-day running of the motorway also came in to conduct condition surveys and do other work which means they won’t have to close lanes or carriageways at another time.

"We’ve been planning this closure over many months and the support and patience of drivers, people living along the diversion route and partners like Manchester Airport and Transport for Greater Manchester was crucial to everything going so smoothly.

"The motorway upgrade will tackle congestion on a key commuter and airport route between Altrincham and South Manchester and both Manchester Airport and Transport for Greater Manchester have been very supportive."

At the start of 2022, the transformation of motorways into smart motorways was paused by the government to allow for five years' of safety figures to be collected.

It came after safety concerns arose from fatal incidents where broken-down cars were hit from behind due to the lack of a hard shoulder, which will also be the case on the M56 due to the conversion of the hard shoulder on both carriageways into an additional lane.

The work on the M56 is continuing as it is more than half complete, and leaving the current traffic management measures in place for five years is not seen as an option.

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