The Motorway: Life in the Fast Lane

Final episode on BBC 2, 9pm, Sep­tem­ber 30

We are host­ing a web chat about all four episodes of The Motor­way: Life in the Fast Lane after the final episode on Tues­day 30 Sep­tem­ber. Our direc­tor of cus­tomer oper­a­tions, Simon Sheldon-Wilson, will be joined by regional divi­sional direc­tor Tim Har­bot, win­ter spe­cial­ist Dar­ren Clark, asset man­ager Matt Tay­lor and on-road team man­ager Sioux Hine. The web chat will start directly after the episode fin­ishes, at 10pm, and will last for about an hour. See our web chat page for more details.

Between Novem­ber 2013 and March 2014, inde­pen­dent film mak­ers The Gar­den were given unprece­dented access to the high­ways teams respon­si­ble for man­ag­ing, main­tain­ing and improv­ing the M6. The result is an engag­ing and enter­tain­ing four-part doc­u­men­tary, The Motor­way: Life in the Fast Lane, which airs on BBC2 this autumn.

The Motorway Logo

Mil­lions of motorists rely on the M6 for jour­neys up and down the coun­try. But many are unaware of the vast scale of work needed to keep the road open and flowing.

Now, the untold human sto­ries behind the M6 are set to fea­ture in a new BBC documentary.

Film crew

A crew from Gar­den Pro­duc­tions film­ing for the documentary.

The Motor­way: Life in the Fast Lane fol­lows staff work­ing round-the-clock to keep traf­fic flow­ing on the ‘back­bone of Britain’.

Film crews spent five months shad­ow­ing the High­ways Agency, police, Dri­ver and Vehi­cle Stan­dards Agency (DVSA), emer­gency ser­vices, and con­trac­tors Amey, Skan­ska and Car­il­lion in the Midlands.

The result­ing four-part series, start­ing on BBC Two at 9pm on Tues­day 9 Sep­tem­ber, sheds light on the range of chal­lenges we face on a daily basis to oper­ate, main­tain and improve the M6.

Traf­fic offi­cers are shown deal­ing with all kinds of inci­dents – includ­ing col­li­sions, break­downs and spillages — while duty man­agers in the Agency’s regional con­trol cen­tre use CCTV, dynamic sig­nage and close co-ordination with part­ners to clear blocked lanes and re-open roads as quickly as possible.

Lit­ter pick­ers dis­cuss some of the stranger items they’ve found by the road­side, and con­trac­tors who work closely with the Agency are shown fill­ing pot­holes, resur­fac­ing roads and treat­ing roads with salt dur­ing winter.

DVSA offi­cers catch lorry dri­vers ignor­ing dri­ving hours leg­is­la­tion, while the police have to deal with sev­eral dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions – includ­ing a tragic sui­cide – on this busy stretch of motorway.

Jon Moore, head of strate­gic com­mu­ni­ca­tions for the High­ways Agency, said:

“Car­ry­ing 200,000 vehi­cles a day, the M6 is cen­tral to the country’s econ­omy, pro­vid­ing a vital life­line between north and south.

“Thou­sands of peo­ple use the road every day – but many won’t know about the huge amount of work that goes into keep­ing the M6 flowing.

“This infor­ma­tive and enter­tain­ing doc­u­men­tary pro­vides a rare glimpse behind the scenes – show­ing how High­ways Agency teams work to keep lanes open and mov­ing, often in dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances after an incident.

“But the doc­u­men­tary doesn’t just focus on inci­dents – it also cov­ers our wider work in the area, such as on-going envi­ron­men­tal work to pro­tect great crested newts, road improve­ment schemes and liai­son with the public.”