M6 Junction 10a to13: Smart Motorway

Project status:   Current
Region:  Midlands

Start date:   31 October 2013
End date:  Autumn 2015

Type:   Major Scheme
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Major Scheme

Part of our programme of improvements (value >10m)

Cost:  £87.5 million


Scheduled closures

We have updated our schedule of planned closures as a result of changes to our programme of work

Scheme newsletter

We are producing newsletters in which we will provide updates on the construction of the M6 junction 10a to13 smart motorways scheme. You can download the latest  newsletter from the Publications page.

Current progress

Our works in the verges of the motorway are continuing with good progress being made. The narrow lanes and 50mph speed restriction remain in place for the duration of the works for safety reasons. Our construction programme has been carefully planned to minimise disruption to road users.

Works are continuing in the verge/hardshoulder. We have:

  • installed new sign and signal gantries
  • removed old unnecessary signs and supports
  • reconstructed the hardshoulders between junctions 12 and 13

We are:

  • completing construction of emergency refuge areas (ERAs)
  • completing installation of new drainage
  • erecting new safety fences
  • erecting new signs
  • carrying out cabling works to the new signs and signals
  • resurfacing the motorway

The scheme's end date has now been extended to Autumn 2015 as we are now delivering a significant amount of additional work to ultimately deliver improved benefits to road users. By combining the work now we are reducing the need for maintenance closures in the future, thereby minimising disruption.

Public Consultation

We would like to thank everyone who responded to the consultation, which ran 15 July 2013 to 30 August 2013, regarding the proposed use of variable mandatory speed limits on the M6 between junctions 10a and 13 as part of a proposed smart motorway scheme. 

Details of the consultation can be found on GOV​.UK.  All comments have been reviewed and the consultation report is available to view.

What is happening?

We are working to improve the M6 by making it a smart motorway between junctions 10a and 13. Smart motorways (previously known as 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 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?

Preparations started in September 2013 and full construction began on 31 October 2013, ahead of the original construction start date, which was planned for between January and March 2014. For more information please visit our Current Delivery Programme page.

This smart motorway scheme will be carried out on the M6 between junctions 10a to13, near Stafford and Cannock.

Why is this happening and what will it cost?

The M6 between Birmingham and Manchester is a strategic route that carries high volumes of heavy goods and other vehicles. Congestion and unreliable journey times are already being experienced at busy periods and traffic is predicted to continue to grow.

The M6 meets a number of important high level needs. It:

  • is part of the trans-european network of roads (route E5)
  • is part of the national motorway network making a major contribution to the UK economy
  • forms an integral part of the main transport corridor connecting the Midlands with the northwest, sout west and southeast of England, Scotland and Wales
  • is a major transport link for the movement of freight and other strategic traffic
  • facilitates the movement of holiday traffic and access to national events

The estimated outturn cost of this scheme is £87.5 million.

How will the scheme be carried out?

This project has two distinct sections:

Junctions 10a to 11a

This section between M54 at junction 10a and the M6 toll at junction 11a will have the benefit of controlled motorway technology which uses gantry signing to control lane discipline and speeds. Hard shoulder running will not be provided over this section. The new works will provide dedicated slip road lanes at the interchanges with M54 and M6 toll. This will help accommodate the high flows expected to enter and leave the M6 at these motorway interchanges.

Junctions 11a to 13

This section from the M6 toll to Stafford will have permanent hard shoulder running as well as the technology to vary mandatory speed limits.

During all works, average speed cameras will be used through the length of the scheme for the safety of both the road user (motorists) and the workforce. Also, temporary CCTV cameras will be used to monitor for broken down vehicles and other incidents.

A number of information signs and signals on gantries will be installed as part of the improvement scheme. Some existing vegetation within the highway boundary has been removed to make space for the new infrastructure. Replacement planting will be provided, where possible, around the new infrastructure.

The main works are planned to be done Monday to Friday during normal working hours. However, there will be a significant amount of work which needs to be carried out overnight and during road closures. This is because during the day the working space is limited and not all operations can be done safely. At night, when traffic flows are considerably lighter, lanes can be temporarily closed.

Works that we are carrying out are:

  • providing new overhead gantries and refurbishing existing gantries
  • providing new information signs, variable message signs and signals
  • providing new emergency refuge areas
  • improving carriageway and drainage
  • providing new fencing at Penkridge
  • reconstructing the hardshoulder between junctions 12 and 13
  • resurfacing the carriageways

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.

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% and reduced emissions by up to 10%, 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 ha_​info@​highways.​gsi.​gov.​uk or calling 0300 123 5000.

Carillion are the Highways England’s contractor for the M6 junction 10a to 13 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 (Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm) at M6​J1​0​A-​1​3​@​carillionplc.​com

Details of scheduled roadworks are provided to help you plan your journey. Please note that works are weather- and resource- dependent and may need to be cancelled at short notice. This information is not updated in real time so please check Traffic England for current traffic conditions. Diversion timings are approximate and act as a guide only.

Will there be roadworks?

Yes, roadworks will be needed to allow us to carry out works safely:

  • hard shoulder closures are in place through much of the scheme to give access to the works
  • lane closures and full carriageway closures will be required, but these will only be at times of reduced traffic flow or at night time
  • from October 2014 works are being undertaken in some sections of the central reserve; this will require carriageway closures overnight whilst we reposition the narrow lanes and the right hand traffic lane will be closed through these sections to give access to the works whlist the 50mph speed limit will remain
  • from March 2015 until autumn 2015 the motorway will be resurfaced between junctions 10a and 13; this will require night time carriageway closures throughout this period

Additional Works on the M6

The Highways England are currently involved in a number of works along the M6 which may also affect your journey. Please follow the links below if you would like further details regarding these works.

M6 Junction 15 to Junction 14 Improvements

M6 J8 to M5 link - southbound re-waterproofing

M6/A38M Gravelly Hill Interchange Waterproofing Scheme

M6 Northbound Junction 7 to 10 Carriageway Resurfacing

Road Works

DateDurationDetailsAllow an Extra
Friday 27th November10pm – 8amM6 northbound junctions 12 to 13 – lanes 1 and 2 closed, junction 11 northbound entry slip – lane 2 closed45 mins
Friday 27th November10pm – 8amM6 southbound junctions 13 to 12 – lanes 1 and 2 closed, junctions 12 to 11a – lanes 1 and 2 closed45 mins
Saturday 28th November10pm – 10amM6 northbound junctions 11 to 11a - lanes 1 and 2 closed, junction 11 northbound entry slip road full closure, junction 12 northbound exit slip road full closure45 mins
Saturday 28th November10pm – 10amM6 southbound junctions 13 to 12 – lanes 1 and 2 closed45 mins

How will you manage traffic?

During the day three narrow lanes will be kept open in each direction for the duration of the works. A 50mph speed restriction is in place to protect roadworks and road users. Lane closures and carriageway closures will be carried out overnight.

The hard shoulder and in some sections the right hand traffic lane are closed with the use of cones and temporary steel barriers which give protection to the workforce from errant vehicles.

A free vehicle recovery service is provided within the road works. 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. CCTV cameras are monitored by a dedicated team in a control room, who can promptly identify incidents and notify vehicle recovery teams to assist stranded motorists.

Will there be diversions?

There will be closures of the carriageways on several nights. Diversion routes will be signed as follows:

M6 J10-12 Diversion route map

For closures between junctions 10 and 12:


From junction 10 - west on Black Country Route

West on A454 onto Wolverhampton Ring Road

A449 north to A5 at Gailey roundabout

East on A5 to rejoin motorway at junction 12

M6 J13-12 Diversion route map

For closures between junctions 12 and 13:


From M6 junction 13 - A449 southwards to Gailey roundabout, A5 eastwards to rejoin M6 at junction 12


From M6 junction 12 – A5 westwards to Gailey roundabout, A449 northwards to rejoin M6 at junction 13

For closures between junctions 10a and 12:


From M6 junction 12 – westwards on A5 to Gailey roundabout, A449 southwards to M54 junction 2, M54 eastwards to rejoin M6 at junction 10a

For M6 Toll traffic: from M6 junction 12, A5 westwards to M6 Toll junction T8


From M6 junction 10a – M54 westwards to junction 2, A449 northwards to Gailey roundabout, A5 eastwards to rejoin M6 at junction 12.

Drivers should allow an extra 45 minutes for their journey.

M6 J14-13 Diversion route map

For closures between junctions 14 and 13


From junction 14 - eastwards onto A34, south on A34 then A449 to rejoin M6 at junction 13

Business Case

M6 Junctions 10A-13 Managed Motorway Business Case
M6 Junction 10A - 13 Managed Motorway - Business Case - Information correct as at December


M6 Junction 10a-13 Managed Motorway - Public Exhibition 2013
Information about the public exhibition on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 July 2013 for the M6 Junction 10a-13 Managed Motorway.


M6 Junction 10a-13 Managed Motorway - Notice of Determination - July 2013
M6 Junction 10a-13 Managed Motorway - Notice of Determination - July 2013


M6 Junction 10a-13 Smart Motorway Newsletter - May 2015
Welcome to the May 2015 newsletter in which we will provide updates on the construction of the M6 Junctions 10a to 13 smart motorways scheme.
M6 Junction 10a-13 Smart Motorway Newsletter - March 2014
Welcome to the first in a series of newsletters in which we will provide updates on the construction of the M6 Junctions 10a to 13 smart motorways scheme.


M6 Junction 10a-13 Managed Motorway - Environmental Assessment Report
Environmental Assessment Report for the M6 Junction 10a-13 Managed Motorway scheme.