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Highways England to conduct ‘biggest ever’ emergency exercise

One of the biggest ever motorway emergency exercises will take place on the M62 this weekend to help improve responses to major road incidents.

The glass windows, fuel and other liquids will be removed from a 57-seater coach before it is towed onto the motorway

The glass windows, fuel and other liquids will be removed from a 57-seater coach before it is towed onto the motorway

Around 100 workers from Greater Manchester and Cheshire’s emergency services will work with Highways England’s traffic officers through the night to respond to a staged multiple-casualty incident involving an overturned coach, two HGVs, eight cars, a motorbike, and 50 volunteers taking on the role of injured drivers and passengers.

Exercise Dark Knight will be held overnight on Saturday 10 August, when the motorway is already due to be closed as part of a major upgrade to add extra lanes and new technology to a nine-mile section of the M62 near Warrington (junctions 10 to 12).

The glass windows, fuel and other liquids will be removed from a 57-seater coach before it is towed onto the motorway and moved onto its side by workers at Hough Green Garage in Widnes, using a mobile crane. A car transporter will also be used to get the cars and motorbike into place for the exercise.

The motorway will be closed overnight between 9pm on Saturday 10 August and 9am on Sunday 11 August. A diversion will take traffic along the M6, A556 and M56, with drivers travelling from the north of the region also being advised to consider using the M61 to reach their destinations.

Chris Chadwick, North West resilience co-ordinator at Highways England, said:

“Our motorways are among the safest in the world and we help to keep them safe by carefully planning what we’d do on the rare occasions when there’s a major incident.

“We normally have to do this away from the motorway to avoid disruption to drivers but will be able to make our latest scenario as realistic as possible by carrying out Exercise Dark Knight on the M62 when it’s already closed overnight for major construction work.”

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Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.