M6 Birmingham Box Phase 3: Smart Motorway
Part of our programme of improvements (value >10m)
The scheme is now fully operational and the hardshoulder is opened to traffic at peak times between M6 junctions 5 and 8
You can read the full press release for the operational launch.
Removal of traffic management
The traffic management has now been removed.
The free recovery service on the M6 between junction 8 and junction 5 and on the adjoining M5 links has finished following removal of the traffic management.
Variable speed limits
Variable speed limits are now in operation on the M6 between junction 8 and junction 5 as well as the previously completed adjacent schemes. These enforceable variable speed limits are indicated on the overhead signs above each lane in a red ring and are introduced to help ease congestion during busy periods or if an incident occurs.
To find out about the various features of a smart motorway – including how the variable speed system works – visit our Smart Motorways homepage.
What is happening?
We have improved the M6 by making it a "smart motorway" (previously known as managed motorways) between junctions 5 and 8, including M5 link roads. Smart 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 Smart Motorways
When and where is this happening?
Work began in April 2012 and the Smart Motorway was fully operational from April 2014. The Birmingham Box Phase 3 Smart 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 was needed as the route currently suffered from:
- heavy congestion
- unpredictable journey times
- higher than average accident rates
Research carried out on the M42 and M6 has proven smart motorways reduce accidents, and improve journey times. Similarly, journey times have improved between the M40 junction 16, near Lapworth, and M6 junction 5, 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 smart motorways are in operation there is an average daily saving of about 2 minutes 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?
The Birmingham Box Phase 3 Smart Motorway is now open for traffic.
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 smart motorway scheme can bring. The first smart 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.
For more information on Smart Motorways in the Midlands, please view our facebook page.
Will there be roadworks?
How will you manage traffic?
Will there be diversions?
M6 Birmingham Box Phase 3 Managed Motorways - Business Case - Information correct as at December 2010
M6 Junctions 5 to 8 Phased Opening Plan
M6 Birmingham Box Phase 3 Managed Motorways - Public Exhibition Material
Pre-Construction Exhibition Material
M6 Birmingham Box Phase 3 Managed Motorways - Summary of Consultation Responses
Notice of Determination
Appraisal Summary Table
What we have done
- Provided new overhead gantries and refurbished exisiting gantries
- Provided new information signs, variable message signs and signals;
- Installed CCTV traffic surveillance cameras;
- Provided new emergency refuge areas;
- Improved carriageway drainage;
- Replaced the existing screen fencing; and
- Re-aligned the motorway locally north of junction 6.
These works are now completed