M6 Junction 10a-13: Smart Motorway

Project status:   Current
Region:  Midlands

Start date:   31 October 2013
End date:  Spring 2015

Type:   Major Scheme
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Major Scheme

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

Cost:  £87.5 million


Drop in Sessions

We are holding some drop in sessions at the Haling Dene Centre in Penkridge where you are able to meet the team and ask questions.

Our first drop-in will be on Wednesday 26th March 2014 between 2pm and 9pm.

Scheme Newsletter

We are producing a series of newsletters in which we will provide updates on the construction of the M6 Junction 10a-13 smart motorways scheme. You can download the latest  newsletter from the Publications page.

Scheme Update

Our works in the verges of the motorway are continuing with good progress being made. The narrow lanes and 50 mph 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.

See Journey Impact for more information.

Current progress

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

  • Continuing construction of emergency refuge areas (ERAs)
  • Completing construction of foundations to support gantries
  • Installing new drainage
  • Removing old unnecessary signs and supports

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?

Advanced enabling works started in September 2013 and full construction began on 31 October 2013. This is 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-13, located 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)
  • It is part of the national motorway network making a major contribution to the UK economy
  • It forms an integral part of the main transport corridor connecting the Midlands with the north west, south west and south east of England, Scotland and Wales
  • It is a major transport link for the movement of freight and other strategic traffic
  • It 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-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-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 as follows:

  • Providing new overhead gantries and refurbishing existing gantries.
  • Providing new information signs, variable message signs and signals.
  • Providing new energency refuge areas.
  • Improving carriageway and drainange.
  • Providing new fencing at Penkridge.

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 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 ha_​info@​highways.​gsi.​gov.​uk or calling 0300 123 5000.

Carillion are the Highways Agency’s contractor for the M6 J10a-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 throughout the length 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
  • some work such as erection of gantries will require closures later in the year to maintain safety - closures will be overnight and details will be added to this website once confirmed closer to the time

M6 Junctions 10 to 11 Lighting Column and Cable Repair

Works are also taking place on the M6 between Junction 10 to 11 to replace existing road lighting columns, replace the existing damaged cabling and instillation of new traffic management. To find out about the roadworks in place for this scheme please visit the scheme website.

Additional Works on the M6

The Highways Agency 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.

Road Works

DateDurationDetailsAllow an Extra
Monday 7 April10pm-6.00amM6 southbound junction 13 to 12 lanes 1 and 2 closed15 mins
Tuesday 8 April10pm-6.00amM6 southbound junction 13 to 12 lanes 1 and 2 closed15 mins
Wednesday 9 April10pm-6.00pmM6 southbound junction 13 to 12 lanes 1 and 2 closed15 mins
Thursday 10 April10pm-6.00amM6 southbound junction 13 to 12 lanes 1 and 2 closed15 mins
Monday 14 April10pm-6.00amM6 southbound junction 13 to 12 lanes 1 and 2 closed15 mins
Tuesday 22 April10pm-6.00amM6 southbound junction 12 to 11 full closure30 mins
Wednesday 23 April10pm-6.00amM6 southbound junction 12 to 11 full closure30 Mins
Thursday 24 April10pm-6.00amM6 southbound junction 12 to 11 full closure30 mins
Friday 25 April10pm-8.00amM6 southbound junction 12 to 11 full closure30 mins
Saturday 26 April10pm-10.00amM6 southbound junction 12 to 11 full closure30 mins
Monday 28 April10pm- 6.00amM6 southbound junction 13 to 12 lanes 1 and 2 closed30 mins
Monday 28 April10pm 6.00amM6 southbound junction 12 to 11 full closure30 mins
Tuesday 29 April10pm 6.00amM6 southbound junction 12 to 11 full closure30 mins
Wednesday 30 April10pm 6.00amM6 southbound junction 12 to 11 full closure30 mins
Thursday 1 May10pm 6.00amM6 southbound junction 12 to 11 full closure30 mins
Friday 2 May10pm-8.00amM6 southbound junction 12 to 11 full closure30 mins

How will you manage traffic?

Three narrow lanes will be kept open in each direction for the duration of the works. A 50 mph speed restriction is in place to protect roadworks and road users. 

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 will be 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 will be monitored by a dedicated team in a control room, who will promptly identify incidents and notify vehicle recovery teams to assist stranded motorists.

Will there be diversions?

Diversions will only be put in place during the road closures scheduled for later in the year. Diversion routes will be shown on the web site.

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 - 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.