It is the second of 14 schemes due to start before 2015 being delivered as part of a £1.4bn government package of strategic road projects that survived last year’s spending cuts.
The managed motorway scheme – the first of its kind in the north – covers a 15.5m section of the M62 between Junction 25 at Brighouse and Junction 30 at Rothwell.
Roads Minister Mike Penning said: “At the height of construction, around 400 people will be working on this scheme.”
“This start of work shows the Government is delivering on its promise to invest in transport schemes that reduce congestion, improve safety, and support economic growth.”
The first phase of construction will focus on the stretch between Junction 27 (Gildersome) and Junction 28 (Tingley), with construction on other sections starting in phases from next month.
Contractors will fit overhead gantries and construct emergency refuge areas alongside the hard shoulder.
Highways Agency project manager David Pilsworth said: “In order to minimise delays to road users, we are carrying out this work in phases and keeping three lanes available to traffic in both directions at peak times throughout the construction.”
Work on the scheme is expected to be completed in October 2013.