M5 junction 1 to 2 Oldbury viaduct

Major concrete repair and waterproofing on the M5 Oldbury viaduct, between junctions 1 and 2.

Region:  West Midlands
Start date:  16 January 2017
Cost:  TBC
Status:  CURRENT
Type:  Maintenance Scheme
End date:  TBC

Progress report

We’ve now completed all of the main work on the northbound and southbound carriageway, three lanes are now open with a hard shoulder.

M5 Oldbury

We’re keeping a temporary 50mph speed limit in place on both sides of the road while we test some technology on new gantries that we’ve put in place on the main carriageway. Please note that we’ll need overnight closures to complete the remaining work.

What's next?

Over the next few weeks, we'll be restoring M5 J4a northbound to its original layout. We'll phase this work to avoid too many closures on the network at one time. In addition, we will continue to remove the scaffolding underneath the M5. Given the scale and amount of scaffolding in place, this will take until April 2020 and we’ll need some evening local road closures to do this.


Date Event
January 2017 Enabling work started
March 2017 Public information events held
April 2017 Three narrow lanes installed between junctions 1 and 2 with 40mph speed limit on the viaduct
August 2017 Contraflow system installed and start of concrete repair works
September 2018 Work switches from the southbound to the northbound carriageway
January 2019 Removal of traffic management at M5 junction 4a
Summer 2019 Removal of contraflow and change to two narrow lanes on each carriageway along the viaduct
Autumn 2019 Completion of main work, return to three lanes on each carriageway along the viaduct and remove other traffic management measures

Why we need this scheme

The M5 is one of the busiest routes in the country, carrying a mix of traffic through the Midlands and onwards to routes in the north and south. This section of the M5 is particularly busy, with traffic joining with the M6 and other roads into and out of the Birmingham hub.

Oldbury viaduct carries approximately 1.8 miles of the elevated sections of the M5 to the west of Birmingham between junctions 1 and 2. The structure is safe, but we need to carry out essential repair work to deteriorated concrete due to its perished waterproofing.

The decision to repair this section of motorway now was based on both its condition and to avoid large-scale projects occurring at the same time around the ‘Birmingham Box’ (M5/M42/M6) over the next few years. We have kept the slip roads open and have restricted the occasional closure of slip roads, carriageway and local roads to the night-time only. We have kept open most of the public walkways underneath.

This work is part of the government’s long-term Road Investment Strategy to build a modern and resilient road network. By maintaining this key corridor, we will support economic growth locally and across the West Midlands.

The scheme in detail

The scheme is a very significant infrastructure project for the West Midlands, and is the largest concrete repair project in the UK for many years.

The viaduct is 1.8 miles long and was constructed in the late 1960’s. It is part of what was known as the Midland Links Motorway. It passes over the conurbation of Sandwell and its usage has grown to 60,000 vehicles per day in each direction. It has several interfaces with local roads, canals and railway and tram lines.

The viaduct is split into 165 separate sections which are linked by joints fitted in the gap between the ends of two sections. On the top of each section is a concrete slab, or deck, which is reinforced by meshes of steel embedded within. The deck has a long maintenance cycle compared to its supporting structures which are in good condition. A waterproofing layer protects a deck from the motorway’s run-off water, but this layer has perished over time, resulting in damage to the concrete and some corrosion of its steel reinforcement.

We have kept the programme to a minimum by repairing a whole carriageway at a time, starting with the southbound carriageway. This approach separates the workforce from live traffic and provides us with operational flexibility. Other approaches would increase timescales and the disruption to our customers overall. The work is complicated and needs a great deal of planning and safety considerations.

If you're travelling across the country or into and around Birmingham, we encourage you to consider alternative routes on our network, such as the M42 and M6 or M6 Toll. This will reduce the amount of traffic heading through the roadworks in this busy part of the network and will reduce the impact on local roads.

To help with this, we've made changes to the road layout at key junctions in the area, including at M6 junction 8 southbound and M5 junction 4a northbound.

These roadworks are causing some disruption to the M5 and the local area. We would like to thank you for your patience and recommend that where possible you:

  • plan ahead
  • allow extra time for your journeys
  • consider using alternative routes
  • change modes of transport
  • car share
  • work from home

View information on local public transport alternatives.

View information on other work in the Birmingham area.

View information on the M6 Toll.

Traffic study

We regularly review network performance, resilience and recovery. Based on this, we altered our traffic management strategy and reinstated two lanes northbound at M5 junction 4a in January 2019. More recently, we shortened the distance of the 50mph speed restriction on the northbound approach to M5 junction 2 by over a mile. Monitoring continues to show that the restriction at M6 junction 8 is effective.

The different measures in place combine to manage traffic flows safely and minimise the disruption on the M5 corridor, as well as local roads, towns and villages.

View the traffic management assessment - July 2017 to May 2018

View the traffic management assessment - July to October 2017

Project media files and documents

There are no videos for this project

Project timeline

Planned roadworks

Roadworks and Events for England

The latest incident information for England's motorway and trunk routes provided by Highways England

Location : The M5 southbound exit slip at junction J1 . Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 21:00 and 06:00 from 1 April 2020 to 3 April 2020. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: March 24, 2020, 11:00 am
Location : The M5 southbound between the M6 northbound and junction J1 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 21:00 and 06:00 from 1 April 2020 to 3 April 2020. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: March 24, 2020, 11:00 am
Location : The M5 southbound exit slip at junction J1 . Reason : Roadworks scheme is planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 1 April 2020 to 06:00 on 3 April 2020.
Posted: March 24, 2020, 11:00 am


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