M6 junction 2 to junction 4: smart motorway

Improving the busy 13.6 mile (22km) stretch of the M6 between junction 2 at Coventry and junction 4 near Coleshill by upgrading it to an all-lane running smart motorway.

Region:  West Midlands
Start date:  2017-18
Cost:  £155 million to £234 million
Status:  COMPLETED
Type:  Major Scheme
End date:  2019-20
Programme:  Smart motorways

Progress report

Over the last two years, we’ve been improving the busy 11.8 mile (19km) stretch of the M6 between junction 2 at Coventry and junction 4 near Coleshill by upgrading it to an all-lane running smart motorway. Our team began advance works on the project in December 2017 and the main construction works started in March 2018. The scheme was opened to traffic on time, on 12 March 2020.

Work started in the verges on either side of the carriageway and involved the installation of our traffic management. We put in place three narrow lanes in both directions, with a temporary safety barrier to separate the works area and the live lanes of traffic.

In April 2018, we continued our work by removing the existing technology and gantries from the M6 to make way for the new and improved systems. We then installed new and refurbished gantries to house the technology which monitors and manages traffic flow, upgraded the existing drainage, replaced the environmental barrier and resurfaced the carriageway. Once we’d completed the first phase of our programme, we moved our work into the central reserve.

To establish a safe working area within the centre of the motorway, we carried out a number of traffic management switches. These switches involved pushing the three narrow lanes towards the verges of the motorway. All our traffic management switches were scheduled to take place between April and October 2019. We identified an opportunity to minimise disruption to the travelling public and keep our construction programme on track by decreasing the section of road each switch covered and increasing the total number of switches. All 11 switches were completed on time which allowed traffic to travel along the newly constructed lane one in both directions.

In December 2019, we opened a section of the smart motorway, between junctions 4 and 3 on the southbound carriageway, early. By opening up this stretch of road ahead of time, we were able to minimise disruption to the travelling public and reduce our overall costs. This section of the carriageway was open to traffic with a 70mph speed limit and all technology fully operational.

At the same time, we opened the northbound carriageway between junctions 3 and 4, with restrictions in place. So our workforce could continue to work safely throughout the remainder of our scheme, narrow lanes and a speed limit of 50mph remained in place. We also continued to provide a free recovery service for motorists who broke down within our roadworks.

Timeline

Date Event
2015-2016 Design work
July 2016 Exhibition events
December 2017 Start of works
March 2020 End of works

Why we needed this scheme

Motorists experienced frequent delays between junctions 2 and 4 of the M6. These delays were caused by the volume of traffic using the stretch of motorway. Our scheme has:

  • reduced congestion, by smoothing the flow of traffic to improve journey times and make them more reliable
  • maximised road capacity to support economic growth across the region
  • introduced technology that allows us to activate warning signs which alert motorists to traffic jams and hazards up ahead

The scheme in detail

The M6 junction 2 to 4 project involved:

  • converting the hard shoulder to create a permanent fourth lane between junctions 2 and 3a
  • converting the climbing lane eastbound between junction 3a and 3 to a permanent traffic lane and retaining the hard shoulder
  • improving driver experience/consistency on the M6 northbound carriageway by retaining 3 lanes and a hard shoulder from junction 4 to junction 10a
  • installing new electronic information signs, signals and CCTV cameras which will be used to vary speed limits and manage traffic flow and incidents
  • installing 9 emergency areas for motorists to use in place of the hard shoulder
  • improving the central reserve and adding a reinforced barrier to provide better safety
  • installing new noise barriers in built up areas and laying low noise surfacing to help mitigate increases in noise generated by traffic using the new smart motorway

Project media files and documents

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 M6 southbound between junctions J4A and J4 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 3 June 2020 to 06:00 on 4 June 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be two of three lanes closed.
Posted: May 29, 2020, 10:12 am
Location : The M42 northbound between junctions J6 and J8 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 22:00 on 29 May 2020 to 05:00 on 30 May 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: May 29, 2020, 7:32 am
Location : The M6 northbound between junctions J2 and J4 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 29 May 2020 to 06:00 on 30 May 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 1 June 2020 to 29 June 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of four lanes closed.
Posted: May 29, 2020, 5:02 am
Location : The M6 northbound between junctions J3A and J4A . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 29 May 2020 to 06:00 on 30 May 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 1 June 2020 to 29 June 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: May 29, 2020, 5:02 am
Location : The M6 southbound between junctions J4 and J3A . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 29 May 2020 to 06:00 on 30 May 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 1 June 2020 to 3 June 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 5 June 2020 to 29 June 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: May 29, 2020, 5:02 am
Location : The M6 southbound at junction J4 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 29 May 2020 to 06:00 on 30 May 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 1 June 2020 to 3 June 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 5 June 2020 to 29 June 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: May 29, 2020, 5:02 am
Location : The M6 southbound between junctions J4A and J4 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 29 May 2020 to 06:00 on 30 May 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 1 June 2020 to 3 June 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 5 June 2020 to 29 June 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: May 29, 2020, 5:02 am
Location : The M6 northbound between junctions J3A and J4 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 22:00 on 29 May 2020 to 05:00 on 30 May 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: May 28, 2020, 9:02 pm
Location : The M6 northbound exit slip at junction J4 to M42/A446. Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 22:00 on 29 May 2020 to 05:00 on 30 May 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: May 28, 2020, 9:02 pm
Location : The M42 southbound entry slip at junction J7 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 22:00 on 29 May 2020 to 05:00 on 30 May 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: May 28, 2020, 9:02 pm
Location : The M6 northbound between junctions J1 and J4A . Reason : Roadworks scheme. Status : Currently Active. Period : from 20:01 on 28 May 2020 to 06:00 on 29 June 2020.
Posted: May 28, 2020, 7:02 pm
Location : The M6 southbound between junctions J6 and J4 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 2 June 2020 to 06:00 on 3 June 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be two of three lanes closed.
Posted: May 28, 2020, 7:23 am
Location : The M6 southbound between junctions J6 and J5 . Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 31 May 2020 to 06:00 on 1 June 2020.
Posted: May 27, 2020, 11:02 am
Location : The M6 northbound between junctions J5 and J6 . Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 31 May 2020 to 06:00 on 1 June 2020.
Posted: May 27, 2020, 11:02 am
Location : The A45 westbound between the A452 and the junction with the M42 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 09:30 on 4 June 2020 to 15:30 on 4 June 2020. Schedule : From 09:30 on 6 August 2020 to 15:30 on 6 August 2020. Schedule : From 09:30 on 8 October 2020 to 15:30 on 8 October 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: May 26, 2020, 3:10 pm
Location : The A45 westbound between the A452 and the junction with the M42 . Lane Closures : Lane two will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 09:30 and 15:30 from 1 June 2020 to 3 June 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 09:30 and 15:30 from 3 August 2020 to 5 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 09:30 and 15:30 from 5 October 2020 to 7 October 2020. Schedule : From 09:30 on 1 December 2020 to 15:30 on 1 December 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: May 26, 2020, 3:10 pm
Location : The A45 eastbound between the M42 and the junction with the A452 . Lane Closures : Lane two will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 09:30 and 15:30 from 1 June 2020 to 3 June 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 09:30 and 15:30 from 3 August 2020 to 5 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 09:30 and 15:30 from 5 October 2020 to 7 October 2020. Schedule : From 09:30 on 1 December 2020 to 15:30 on 1 December 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: May 26, 2020, 3:10 pm
Location : The A45 westbound exit slip to the M42 . Lane Closures : Lane two will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 09:30 and 15:30 from 1 June 2020 to 3 June 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 09:30 and 15:30 from 3 August 2020 to 5 August 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 09:30 and 15:30 from 5 October 2020 to 7 October 2020. Schedule : From 09:30 on 1 December 2020 to 15:30 on 1 December 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: May 26, 2020, 3:10 pm
Location : The A45 westbound exit slip to the M42 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 09:30 on 4 June 2020 to 15:30 on 4 June 2020. Schedule : From 09:30 on 6 August 2020 to 15:30 on 6 August 2020. Schedule : From 09:30 on 8 October 2020 to 15:30 on 8 October 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: May 26, 2020, 3:10 pm

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