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:  CURRENT
Type:  Major Scheme
End date:  2019-20
Programme:  Smart motorways

Progress report

Our scheme has progressed very well since it began in March 2018 and we’re now 90% through our programme.

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.

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 will monitor and manage 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 successfully 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 is open to traffic with a 70mph speed limit and all technology fully operational.

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

View photos of our progress in the image gallery.

M6 junctions 2 to 4 smart motorway diversion routes

When full road closures are needed to safely carry out works, we will put in place three clearly signed diversion routes:

 

 

What's next?

We’re planning several overnight full carriageway closures to help us carry out our remaining works. During these closures we’ll:

  • resurface the carriageway
  • install and test the technology which will support the smart motorway

We’ll minimise disruption to road users by coordinating different work activities which can take place at the same time, so we make the most of every full road closure. All road closure information will be communicated through Traffic England and our weekly traffic management bulletin. If you’d like to receive our weekly updates, please email us at M6.j2-4@highwaysengland.co.uk

Timeline

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

Why we need this scheme

The M6 at junctions 2 to 4 currently suffers frequent delays due to the volume of traffic. This scheme will provide greater traffic capacity and more reliable journey times by improving the flow of traffic.

Aims

This scheme aims to:

  • reduce congestion by smoothing the flow of traffic to improve journey times and make them more reliable
  • facilitate economic growth within the region, by providing much needed capacity on the motorway
  • maximise motorway capacity while maintaining safety on motorways, which already are among the safest roads in the world

The scheme in detail

This project involves:

  • 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
  • between junctions 4 and 3a the motorway will have 3 lanes and a hard shoulder; this is designed to tie in with the existing M6 junction 5 to 8 smart motorway
  • installing new electronic information signs, signals and CCTV cameras - these will be used to vary speed limits and manage traffic flow and incidents
  • installing 9 emergency refuge areas to use in place of the hard shoulder
  • improving the central reserve and adding a reinforced barrier to improve safety
  • adding new noise barriers in built up areas

Environmental impact

We've undertaken an environmental assessment that covers topics including noise and vibration, air quality, ecology and visual impacts. The results are presented in an Environmental Study Report where we describe the measures we'll take to minimise impact and enhance the environment. Appendices are available on request by emailing the project team.

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 : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 28 March 2020 to 06:00 on 29 March 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 29 March 2020 to 4 April 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 5 April 2020 to 7 April 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 14 April 2020 to 19 April 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: March 28, 2020, 8:04 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 28 March 2020 to 06:00 on 29 March 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 29 March 2020 to 4 April 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 5 April 2020 to 7 April 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 14 April 2020 to 19 April 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: March 28, 2020, 8:04 am
Location : The M6 northbound between junctions J1 and J4A . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 28 March 2020 to 06:00 on 29 March 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 29 March 2020 to 5 April 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 7 April 2020 to 9 April 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 14 April 2020 to 19 April 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: March 28, 2020, 6:45 am
Location : The M42 northbound exit slip at junction J7A . Reason : Roadworks scheme. Status : Currently Active. Period : from 20:18 on 17 March 2020 to 06:00 on 9 April 2020.
Posted: March 27, 2020, 5:21 pm
Location : The M6 northbound between junctions J2 from A4600 northbound and J4 . Reason : Roadworks scheme. Status : Currently Active. Period : from 20:01 on 26 March 2020 to 06:00 on 7 April 2020.
Posted: March 26, 2020, 8:02 pm
Location : The M42 northbound between junctions J6 and J7 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 28 March 2020 to 06:00 on 29 March 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be two of three lanes closed.
Posted: March 25, 2020, 5:45 pm
Location : The M42 northbound exit slip at junction J7 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 28 March 2020 to 06:00 on 29 March 2020. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: March 25, 2020, 5:45 pm
Location : The M6 southbound between junctions J4A and J4 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 29 March 2020 to 06:00 on 30 March 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: March 25, 2020, 5:23 pm
Location : The M6 southbound between junctions J6 and J4 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed. Reason : Barrier repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 29 March 2020 to 06:00 on 30 March 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be two of three lanes closed.
Posted: March 25, 2020, 3:21 pm
Location : The M6 southbound entry slip at junction J5 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Barrier repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 20:00 on 29 March 2020 to 06:00 on 30 March 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: March 25, 2020, 3:21 pm
Location : The A446 southbound at the junction with the A452 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 31 March 2020 to 05:00 on 1 April 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: March 25, 2020, 3:20 pm
Location : The A452 southbound between the junctions with the A446 and the A45 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 31 March 2020 to 05:00 on 1 April 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: March 25, 2020, 3:20 pm
Location : The M6 northbound between junctions J1 and J6 . Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 09:00 and 17:00 from 30 March 2020 to 3 April 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 09:00 and 17:00 from 6 April 2020 to 10 April 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 09:00 and 17:00 from 13 April 2020 to 17 April 2020. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 09:00 and 17:00 from 20 April 2020 to 24 April 2020.
Posted: March 25, 2020, 11:45 am
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 April 2020 to 3 April 2020. 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. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: March 24, 2020, 11:00 am
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 April 2020 to 3 April 2020. 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. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: March 24, 2020, 11:00 am
Location : The M42 northbound entry slip at junction J9 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Horticultural works are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 09:30 and 15:30 from 30 March 2020 to 3 April 2020. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: March 24, 2020, 11:00 am
Location : The M42 northbound between junctions J9 and J10 . Reason : Horticultural works are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 09:30 and 15:30 from 30 March 2020 to 3 April 2020.
Posted: March 24, 2020, 11:00 am
Location : The M42 southbound between junctions J10 and J9 . Reason : Horticultural works are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 09:30 and 15:30 from 30 March 2020 to 3 April 2020.
Posted: March 24, 2020, 11:00 am
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 April 2020 to 3 April 2020. 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. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: March 24, 2020, 11:00 am

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