Biggest ever emergency exercise planned for M62 this weekend

Date published: 09 August 2019

One of the biggest ever motorway emergency exercises - involving 100 emergency workers and 50 volunteers - will take place on the M62 this weekend (Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 August 2019) to help improve responses to major road incidents.

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).

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 and a motorbike.

Around 50 volunteers will take on the role of injured drivers and passengers to help bring the staged incident to life on the major road scheme, painting themselves in fake blood and wounds to make the incident as realistic as possible.

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.


Dark Knight bus that will be used for the M62 emergency services exercise
A 57-seater coach will be used for the staged M62 emergency


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 it out on the M62 when it’s already closed overnight.

“We’re working closely with the emergency services on the exercise and are grateful to the volunteers who are giving up their time to help make our motorways safer for everyone.”

The stretch of the M62 between the M6 and the M60 is used by around 120,000 vehicles every day. More than 350 people are working on the latest stage of the project which involves major construction work at the side of the motorway to install new giant overhead gantries, CCTV masts, safety barriers and lighting columns.

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 being advised to consider using the M61 to reach their destinations.

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