Improvements to the M62 have been completed and a new managed motorway is in place, which it is hoped will reduce congestion and smooth traffic flow.
Work to upgrade 15.5 miles of the M62 between junctions 25 at Brighouse and junction 30 at Rothwell led to the introduction of a temporary 50mph speed limit, which was first introduced in October 2011.
But motorists in West Yorkshire saw the speed restrictions being lifted last week as work has been completed on time and under budget.
Road minster Stephen Hammond said: “I am delighted that road users in West Yorkshire and beyond are able to benefit from the improvements earlier than planned, and at a lower cost to the taxpayer than originally forecast.”
He added that reducing congestion on the M62 would deliver “significant economic benefits.”
The managed motorway system, which cost around £133m - making £48m in savings - is the first of its kind in the north of England.
Highways Agency project manager David Pilsworth said that the changes would also make journey times more reliable.
He said: “The M62 and M1 are the most heavily trafficked spots in the area. The feedback has been positive after lots of scepticism and uncertainty.”
The managed motorway uses a range of smart technology, which is controlled by operators in the regional control centre in Wakefield.
During busy periods, operators set overhead message signs to tell drivers they can use the hard shoulder as an extra lane and at what speed to drive, via variable mandatory speed limits. Lane closure information, such as a red X sign, is also displayed as needed in the event of an incident or roadworks. But when the hard shoulder is not open to traffic, it is illegal to use unless in an emergency.
Mr Pilsworth added: “It paves the way for future projects, opening up the motorway for everyone West Yorkshire is well covered.”
The M1 is the next project where a similar system of a managed motorway will be implemented.
For further information, go to: www.highways.gov.uk/managedmotorways