M6 junction 16 to 19 smart motorway

Improving the M6 motorway between junction 16 (Crewe) and junction 19 (Knutsford) by making it a smart motorway.

Region:  North West
Start date:  2015-16
Cost:  £192 to £274 million
Type:  Major Scheme
End date:  2018-19
Programme:  North-west smart motorways

Progress report

The full smart motorway between junctions 16 (Crewe) and 19 (Knutsford) is now open.

Motorists are now able to use all four new lanes throughout the 19-mile stretch and new overhead electronic signs have been switched on to provide drivers with live information about their journeys, including changes in the speed limit, lane closures and incidents ahead.

We've added much-needed capacity to this crucial stretch of motorway and have introduced new technology to help reduce congestion and give road users greater confidence in getting to their destinations on time.

What's next?

Our site office near Brereton will stay open until June so people may still see some of our vehicles on the road while we add the finishing touches.

Resurfacing work, which could not take place during the smart motorway construction, will soon be taking place meaning full closures to the carriageway.

Closures will take place over three nights during April 2019. Please visit the Roadworks Finder for more information on dates. Diversions will be in place and you can view this document to view the diversions.

Find out more information on current and upcoming smart motorway projects in the North West.


Date Event
July 2013 Scheme announced in the Spending Review
December 2015 Construction begins
March 2019 Construction ends

Community news

The M6 junctions 16 to 19 project has customer information stands at Holmes Chapel and Sandbach Libraries where you can:

Holmes Chapel library is located at 29 London Rd, Holmes Chapel, Crewe CW4 7AP.

Sandbach library is at The Commons, Sandbach CW11 1FJ.

The information stand is marked by a pop up Highways England banner and is located just inside the main library area.

The digital version of the December newsletter is now available.

You can find closure information on the roadworks tab below, and on Traffic England. Alternatively, if you wish to be sent our weekly Traffic Management Bulletin, which details all planned closures for smart motorway work on the M6 between junctions 2 and 19, please email: M6J16-19SmartMotorway@highwaysengland.co.uk

Why we need this scheme

This section of the M6 currently suffers from excessive congestion and unreliable journey times.

While we're building the new smart motorway our priority is the safety of the travelling public and our workforce, so we've installed narrow lanes, a 50mph speed restriction, CCTV coverage and average speed cameras. As there is no hard shoulder we operate a ‘free vehicle recovery service’ between junction 16 Crewe and junction 19 Knutsford. If your vehicle stops in the narrow lanes, our CCTV control room will identify you and send out the recovery team, so please await rescue. The recovery team will take you and your vehicle to the nearest service area where you'll then need to organise how to continue your onward journey.

The scheme in detail

We're improving a 19-mile (32km) stretch of the M6 motorway between junction 16 (Crewe) and junction 19 (Knutsford) by converting the existing motorway into an all-lane running smart motorway.

This is a motorway where all four lanes are open to traffic, with regular refuge areas available for emergency use in place of a hard shoulder. The latest technology is used to monitor the traffic flow and set speed limits to maintain a constant traffic flow.

During these works we'll convert the hard shoulder permanently in to a traffic lane.


The objectives of the proposed scheme are to:

  • reduce congestion and smooth the flow of traffic to improve travel times and make journeys more reliable
  • support the economy and facilitate economic growth by providing much-needed capacity on the motorway, reducing the cost of delays to commuters and business traffic
  • continue to deliver a high level of safety performance on the network using smart motorway techniques
  • minimise environmental impacts of the scheme


Our environmental team has been working hard to minimise any disturbance to badgers, including providing an artificial sett. As badgers are a protected species any monitoring has to be carried out under a licence issued by Natural England.

Great crested newts are also a protected species and our ecologists have carried out surveys of potential habitats. We've installed newt fencing in areas where we found evidence of great crested newts. The fencing allows us to safely trap and relocate the great crested newts under licence from Natural England.

This scheme is wholly located within an existing motorway and our research has indicated that no significant environmental effects are predicted. This means we're not required to produce an Environmental Impact Assessment.

However, we feel we have a duty of care and want to protect the environment and local communities. So we've produced an Environmental Assessment Report to identify, manage and monitor the effects of all our major developments.

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 northbound between junctions J18 and J19 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Roadside equipment maintenance is planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 24 September 2019 to 03:00 on 25 September 2019. Lanes Closed : There will be one of four lanes closed.
Posted: September 19, 2019, 11:03 am


Breaking News: Traffic Information

Breaking News

The latest current breaking news items for England's motorway network

Regional Twitter feed

Keep up-to-date

Sign up for updates
Please leave feedback