M6 junction 13 to junction 15 smart motorway

We're upgrading the busy 28km stretch of the M6 between junction 13 at Stafford and Junction 15 near Newcastle under Lyme and Stoke on Trent to make it a smart motorway.

Start date 2017-18
End date 2021-22
Cost £232.3 to £335.4 million

Latest updates

  • 19 June 2020

    Works between junctions 13 and 14

    The work we’re doing to upgrade the M6 between junctions 13 and 15 to a smart motorway is making great progress and we’re almost 70 percent complete.

    We’re working in phases in the verges on either side of the carriageway. This involves upgrading the existing drainage, installing foundations for new gantries and emergency areas, installing new or refurbishing gantries for technology and resurfacing the carriageway.

    We’ll be starting work on the southbound verge between junctions 13 and 14. As part of this work, we’ll need to switch the safety barriers from the northbound carriageway to the south. We’ll be removing some vegetation on the Highways England side of the boundary fence and carrying out some trial holes to test the ground to the south of Doxey.

    Once the vegetation is cleared, there will be ongoing excavation work on the southbound verge during the day. We’ll also be sheet piling and resurfacing the carriageway at various locations between junctions 13 and 14. Sheet piling is a common construction method where steel materials are driven into the ground to support and strengthen the verge areas.

  • Contraflow information

    A contraflow is a temporary arrangement where traffic is transferred from its usual side to share the other half of the carriageway with traffic moving in the opposite direction. This layout will provide a wider working space in the verge, allowing our teams to safely speed up certain construction activities. A contraflow will reduce the amount of overnight closures we need by around 60%. This will benefit road users and residents living on diversion routes through Stafford.

    The contraflow allows us to carry out larger activities that are normally carried out overnight, during the day. As there is more space in the verge to work, site vehicles will be able to pass each other without having to wait until another team has finished an activity. As there will be less traffic management to install overnight, this gives us a greater working window to complete the project quickly.

    Please note that road users wishing to exit at junction 15 will need to remain in lanes 1 and 2 as they drive through the contraflow.

Project information


The M6 between junctions 13 and 15 is one of the busiest sections of road in the UK. It is used by over 127,000 vehicles per day and suffers from heavy congestion and unpredictable journey times, especially during peak periods. Congestion on this stretch of motorway also impacts on local roads. The scheme will reduce congestion, remove major bottlenecks and improve journey time reliability which will help businesses in the area to be more efficient. 

The scheme will involve: 

  • permanent conversion of the hard shoulder to create a fourth lane and changing the junctions to accommodate this 
  • new CCTV cameras and electronic information signs and signals on gantries - these will show variable mandatory speed limits and manage traffic flow and incidents 
  • emergency refuge areas throughout the length of the scheme 
  • the hardening of the central reserve and installation of a reinforced barrier to improve safety 
  • nearly 2km of new noise barriers in built up areas 
  • upgrades to Dunston and Norton railway bridges 
  • widening of Creswell Viaduct 
  • demolition of the redundant Creswell Home Farm bridge 
  • minor improvements to Junction 15 

We’ve made an assessment of the environmental impact and found that there will be no long term significant effects. There will be some temporary effects during construction to changes in views, construction noise, disruption to road users and a very minimal loss of habitat. We’ll ensure these effects are minimised as much as possible. The issues considered are:

  • air quality, noise and visual impacts in relation to nearby housing
  • the Sites of Special Scientific Interest at Doxey and Tillington Marshes and Kings and Hargreave’s woods
  • protected species and habitats including bats, badgers and great crested newts
  • the setting of conservation areas and heritage assets such as Trentham Park
  • public rights of way


Traffic information

Information about scheduled roadworks and events on our motorways and major roads.

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