M6 Junction 10a to13: Smart Motorway

Project status:   Current
Region:  Midlands

Start date:   31 October 2013
End date:  Early 2016

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 have produced newsletters in which we provided 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

The scheme is now fully open with the all lane running section coming fully into operation at 70mph on Sunday 7 February 2016 providing a 4 lane motorway by converting the hard shoulder permanently to a running lane.

We have:

  • installed new signs and signal gantries
  • removed old unnecessary signs and supports
  • reconstructed the hard shoulders between junctions 12 and 13
  • resurfaced a significant amount of the section between junctions 10a and 13
  • added protection to a number of structures along the length of the scheme to protect the structures themselves and road users

The scheme's end date was extended as we have delivered a significant amount of additional work to ultimately deliver improved benefits to road users. By combining the work now we have reduced 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 have improved 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 has been delivered on the M6 between junctions 10a to 13, 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, southwest 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 has 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 scheme provides 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. This section was opened in September 2015.

Junctions 11a to 13

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

A number of information signs and signals on gantries have been 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.

Works that we have carried 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 hard shoulder between junctions 12 and 13
  • resurfacing the carriageways

We have endeavoured to do all works, whether during the day or at night, with the minimal amount of disruption and disturbance.

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 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?

The majority of works are now complete but there will be some works to remove redundant signs and cameras now that the scheme is operational. Roadworks will be needed to allow us to carry out works safely:

  • lane closures and full carriageway closures will be required, but these will only be at times of reduced traffic flow or at night time

Additional works on the M6

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 junctions 16-19 smart motorway scheme

M6 junctions 19-20 vehicle restraint works

M6/A38M Gravelly Hill interchange waterproofing scheme

Road Works

DateDurationDetailsAllow an Extra
Lane closures required to facilitate works to cameras on a gantry.
Monday 18 April10pm – 6amM6 northbound junctions 10a to 11 – lanes 1 and 2 closed45 mins
Monday 18 April10pm – 6amM6 southbound junctions 11 to 10a – lanes 1 and 2 closed45 mins
Tuesday 19 April10pm – 6amM6 northbound junctions 10a to 11 – lanes 1 and 2 closed45 mins
Tuesday 19 April10pm – 6amM6 southbound junctions 11 to 10a – lanes 1 and 2 closed45 mins
Wednesday 20 April10pm – 6amM6 northbound junctions 10a to 11 – lanes 1 and 2 closed45 mins
Wednesday 20 April10pm – 6amM6 southbound junctions 11 to 10a – lanes 1 and 2 closed45 mins
Thursday 21 April10pm – 6amM6 northbound junctions 10a to 11 – lanes 1 and 2 closed45 mins
Thursday 21 April10pm – 6amM6 southbound junctions 11 to 10a – 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 is 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.