M6 Birmingham Box Phase 3 Managed Motorways
Part of our programme of improvements (value >10m)
The project has now constructed 17 new overhead, including 4 new gantries on the elevated section of the M6, since commencing the installation works in late February. Works to install the remaining 3 new gantries and 11 refurbished gantries will continue during May, with the final gantry expected to be erected before the end of June.
A key task now nearing completion is the reinstatement of the screen fence panels which were removed to allow the new managed motorway infrastructure to be installed in the motorway verges. By the end of May there will only be short lengths of screen fencing missing at isolated sites where we are still installing equipment cabinets associated with the new motorway communications systems.
Whilst works to complete the verge infrastructure between Junction 6 and Junction 8 are being progressed towards completion, operations between Junction 5 and Junction 6 along Bromford Viaduct are now fully underway since the installation of narrow lanes during January. New motorway communications ducting has been installed in the verges and equipment cabinets and CCTV camera works are ongoing. The works to construct the 2 emergency refuge areas on Bromford Viaduct commenced in March.
A change to the traffic management arrangement at Junction 6 was implemented early in March. The northbound and southbound running lanes to the north of Junction 6 have been altered to allow works in the central reserve to commence. These works include construction of a concrete barrier and drainage improvement works. This traffic arrangement will remain in place until later in the summer.
What’s happening next?
The following works and operations will be either ongoing, or will commence during the second quarter of 2013:
- Commence installation of telecommunications and power equipment between Junction 6 and Junction 8
- Continue the upgrading and refurbishment of the existing cable trough routes on Bromford Viaduct
- Construction of CCTV camera and equipment cabinet mountings on Thornbridge, Witton and Bromford Viaducts
- Completion of CCTV camera bases in verges
- Completion of the reinstatement of screen fencing
- Completion of verge finishing works, including safety fencing and street lighting between Junction 6 and Junction 8
- Installation of the remaining new and refurbished gantries, including fitting signs
- Central reserve works in the area north of Junction 6, including construction of a concrete barrier and drainage improvement works
- Construction of 2 emergency refuge areas on Bromford Viaduct.
In order to install new or refurbished gantries and to complete carriageway surfacing works, it is necessary to fully close one or both carriageways of the motorway (dependant upon the gantry types being lifted). Gantry lifts are typically undertaken on Friday or Saturday nights when traffic flows on the motorway are at their lowest and the disruption from closing the motorway is therefore minimised.
A series of overnight midweek and weekend carriageway closures will be implemented through May and continue through until the autumn of 2013. From time to time, it may also be necessary to implement mid week overnight closures. Details of these closures, and other slip road closures and lane restrictions will be published on the Highways Agency’s websites and advertised through press notices.
Details of full carriageway closures and diversions planned to the end of April 2013 can be viewed under Journey Impact.
What is happening?
We propose to improve the M6 by making it a "managed motorway" between junctions 5 and 8, including M5 link roads. Managed motorways help relieve congestion by using technology to vary speed limits. They also allow the hard shoulder to be used as a running lane at peak times to create additional capacity. They deliver these benefits at a significantly lower cost than conventional motorway widening and with less impact on the environment during construction. Find out more about Managed Motorways.
When and where is this happening?
Work began in April 2012 and we are planning on opening the scheme to traffic in the first quarter (between April and June) of financial year 2014/15. The Birmingham Box Phase 3 Managed Motorway scheme is the link between junction 5 at Castle Bromwich and junction 8 M6/M5 interchange, serving Walsall, Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield.
Why is this happening and what will it cost?
This work is needed as the route currently suffers from:
- heavy congestion
- unpredictable journey times
- higher than average accident rates
Research carried out on the M42 and M6 has proven Managed Motorways reduce accidents, and improve journey times. Similarly, journey times have improved between the M40 J16, near Lapworth, and M6 J5, near Birmingham, since the introduction of two sections of hard shoulder running. Evidence also shows that roadusers say hard shoulder running has improved these sections of the ‘Birmingham Box’ motorways. Road users reported that when Managed Motorways are in operation there is an average daily saving of about 2 mins per vehicle for a return journey in peak periods.
The estimated outturn cost for this scheme is £115 million.
How will the scheme be carried out?
A number of cameras, information signs and signals on gantries will be installed as part of the improvement scheme. Some of the existing vegetation within the highway boundary will need to be removed to make space for the new infrastructure. To comply with the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, any works which could possibly affect bird nesting sites must be done outside of the breeding season.
The breeding season is March to August inclusive so removal of the existing vegetation was carried out in January and February 2012. Replacement planting will be provided, where possible, around the new infrastructure.
Average speed cameras will be used through the length of the works for the safety of both the road user (motorists) and also, the workforce. Also, temporary CCTV cameras will be installed to monitor for broken down vehicles and other incidents. These were installed in March 2012.
The main works are planned to be done Monday to Friday during normal working hours. However, there will be a significant amount of work done overnight including during weekend periods. During the day, the working space is limited and therefore, not all operations can be done safely. At night, when traffic flows are considerably lighter, lanes can be temporarily closed without causing huge queues on the motorway and the surrounding roads.
Night time working will be needed throughout the construction period for works such as; temporary safety fencing, temporary road markings, resurfacing, cutting MIDAS loops, erection of new gantries, fitting signs and signals to gantries and erection of lighting and CCTV columns. We will endeavour to do all works, whether during the day or at night, with the minimal amount of disruption and disturbance.
If we are planning to carry out works overnight near to people’s homes, we will communicate with them in advance. Also, we will operate a resident’s information line to help in answering questions and providing updates.
The Appraisal Summary Table, summarising the key consequences relating to the environmental, economic and social impacts of this project, has been produced and is available to be viewed under Publications.
What are the benefits?
This project will relieve congestion and smooth the flow of the traffic, improving safety and journey times. These benefits will also support economic development in the region.
We already have evidence of the benefits that a managed motorway scheme can bring. The first managed motorway scheme opened to traffic on the M42 motorway in 2006. Recent analysis of the data gathered since opening has found that journey time reliability improved by 22 per cent and reduced emissions by up to 10 per cent due to traffic flowing more smoothly.
In addition, personal injury accidents have reduced by more than half (55.7%) since hard shoulder running was introduced. There was also an overall reduction in the severity of accidents with zero fatalities and fewer seriously injured.
How do I find out more information ?
More information will be posted on this project page as it becomes available. You can subscribe to be alerted when updates are made.
If you have any queries about this project you should contact the Highways Agency Information Line by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0300 123 5000.
Will there be roadworks?
Yes, roadworks will be needed. In order to carry out the works safely we will need to implement lane and speed restrictions for the duration of the scheme.
Closures scheduled for May are listed below. Works are weather dependent and may have to be cancelled at short notice. This information is not updated in real time; please check our traffic information for current traffic conditions.
Closures on Friday and Saturday nights will be implemented from as early as 22:00 hours, if traffic flows are low enough, through to 08:00 hours the following morning. Closures on Monday to Thursday nights will be implemented from as early as 22:00 hours, if traffic flows are low enough, through to 05:30 hours the following morning.
|Date||Duration||Details||Allow an Extra|
|Friday 10 May 2013||22:00-08:00||M5 northbound to M6 southbound link road closed||15 min|
|Friday 10 May 2013||22:00-08:00||M6 northbound Junction 7 onslip closed||15 min|
|Saturday 11 May 2013||22:00-08:00||M5 northbound link to M6 southbound link road closed||15 min|
|Saturday 11 May 2013||22:00-08:00||M6 northbound Junction 7 on slip closed||15 min|
|Monday 13 May 2013||22:00-05:30||M6 northbound Junction 6 to Junction 7 Lanes 1 and 2 closed||10 min|
|Tuesday 14 May 2013||22:00-05:30||M6 northbound Junction 6 to Junction 7 Lanes 1 and 2 closed||10 min|
|Wednesday 15 May 2013||22:00-05:30||M6 southbound Junction 6 to Junction 7 Lanes 1 and 2 closed||10 min|
|Thursday 16 May 2013||22:00-05:30||M6 southbound Junction 6 to Junction 7 Lanes 1 and 2 closed||10 min|
|Friday 17 May 2013||22:00-08:00||M6 southbound Junction 6 to Junction 7 Lanes 1 and 2 closed||10 min|
|Saturday 18 May 2013||22:00-08:00||M6 northbound Junction 5 to Junction 6 full closure||15 min|
|Saturday 18 May 2013||22:00-08:00||M6 northbound Junction 4a to Junction 5 rolling block closure||15 min|
|Saturday 18 May 2013||22:00-08:00||M6 southbound Junction 6 to Junction 4 full closure||15 min|
How will you manage traffic?
Hard shoulder closures, narrower lanes and safety barriers are in place so we can carry out our works safely while maintaining three lanes in both directions. We have implemented a 50mph speed restriction for the safety of drivers and our roadworkers. This may seem frustrating, but driving through half a mile of roadworks at 50mph takes just ten seconds more than at 70mph, while greatly increasing safety. Some of our works, such as gantry installation and removal works cannot be undertaken safely with traffic using the motorway and will require closures. We have scheduled these to take place overnight on weekends, when traffic flows are lighter, to keep disruption to the travelling public to a minimum.
Will there be diversions?
Clearly signed diversion routes will be in place during the overnight road closures.
Closure of M5 northbound to M6 southbound link
Northbound M5 traffic wishing to join the M6 southbound at J8 will be able to follow the signed diversion route via J10 of the M6 via the A446, A452 and A38 to rejoin the M6 northbound at J6.
Closure of M6 northbound Junction 7 on slip
Northbound traffic wishing to join the M6 at J7 will be able to follow the signed diversion route via the M6 southbound, turning at J6 to continue northbound. Traffic wishing to join the M5 southbound will be able to follow the signed diversion via the A34 to the Scott Arms, A4041, A4031 and A41 to join the southbound M5 at J1.
Closure of M6 northbound between M6 Junction 6 and Junction 7
Northbound M6 traffic wishing to continue north on the M6 beyond J6 will be able to follow the signed diversion route from J6 of the M6 via the A38(M), A4540 and A34 to rejoin the M6 northbound at J7.
Closure of M6 southbound between Junction 7 and Junction 6
Southbound M6 traffic wishing to continue south on the M6 beyond J7 will be able to follow the signed diversion route via the A34, A4540 and A38(M) to rejoin the M6 southbound at J6.
Closure of M6 northbound between Junction 5 and Junction 6
Northbound M6 traffic wishing to continue north on the M6 beyond J5 will be able to follow the signed diversion route from J5 of the M6 via the A452 and A38 to rejoin the M6 northbound at J6.
Closure of M6 southbound between Junction 6 and Junction 5
Southbound M6 traffic wishing to continue south on the M6 beyond J6 will be able to follow the signed diversion route from J6 of the M6 via the A38 and A452 to rejoin the M6 southbound at J5.
Closure of M6 northbound between M6 Junction 7 and Junction 8
Northbound M6 traffic wishing to continue north on the M6 beyond J7 will be able to follow the signed diversion route from J7 of the M6 via the A34, A4148 and A454 to rejoin the M6 northbound at J10.
Closure of M6 southbound between M6 Junction 10 and Junction 7
Southbound M6 traffic wishing to continue south on the M6 beyond J10 will be able to follow the signed diversion route from J10 of the M6 via the A454, A4148 and A34 to rejoin the M6 southbound at J7.
Closure of M6 southbound between Junction 8 West and Junction 8 East
Southbound M6 traffic wishing to continue south on the M6 beyond J8 will be able to follow the signed diversion route via the M5 to Junction 1 and returning northbound to rejoin the M6 southbound at J7.
Closure of M6 northbound between Junction 8 East and Junction 8 West
Northbound M6 traffic wishing to continue north on the M6 beyond J8 will be able to follow the signed diversion route via the M5 to Junction 1 and returning northbound to rejoin the M6 northbound at J7.
A diversion map is available for download below:
M6 Birmingham Box Phase 3 Managed Motorways - Business Case - Information correct as at December 2010
M6 Birmingham Box Phase 3 Managed Motorways - Public Exhibition Material
Pre-Construction Exhibition Material
Notice of Determination
Appraisal Summary Table
What we will be doing
- Providing new overhead gantries and refurbishing existing gantries;
- Providing new information signs, variable message signs and signals;
- Installing CCTV traffic surveillance cameras;
- Providing new emergency refuge areas;
- Improving carriageway drainage;
- Replacing the existing screen fencing; and
- Re-aligning the motorway locally north of Junction 6.
What happens next
The construction phase commenced on 9 January 2012. Our construction programme has been carefully planned to minimise disruption to road users. Three lanes of the M6 will be kept open in each direction during peak times throughout construction. Lane closures and full carriageway closures will be required, but these will only be at times of reduced traffic flow or at night time.
Details of scheduled closures and diversion routes can be viewed under Journey Impact.
Narrow lane running and speed resictions to keep everyone safe
- There will be 3 narrow lanes in each direction for the duration of the works on site
- An average speed limit of 50mph will be enforced throughout the roadworks for your safety as a motorist and for the safety of our workforce
- During the construction period, CCTV cameras will be installed on the motorway to support the management of incidents
- The CCTV team will promptly identify incidents and notify our vehicle recovery teams to assist stranded motorists
- A free vehicle recovery service will be provided within the road works
- We will provide facilities for stranded motorists where they can make arrangements to continue their onward journeys
The majority of works for a managed motorway scheme take place in the highway verges and on the hard shoulder. In order to carry out these works safely we will be required to close the hard shoulder.
We will be operating a free vehicle recovery service in the event that anyone breaks down and cannot make it to a safe location. The entire length of our works is covered by CCTV cameras which are monitored by a dedicated team in our control room.
In the event of a breakdown the stranded vehicle can be identified quickly and the free vehicle recovery service dispatched to take motorists and their vehicle to a safe location.
Carillion are our contractors for these works. Their stakeholder management team will be available throughout the construction process to answer any queries you may have about the project. They can be contacted at: BB3MM@carillionplc.com and on tel: 0121 332 2200 (Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm).