M6 Closure Northbound between J5 – J6, West Midlands. Thursday 4th February 2016


The M6 in the West Mid­lands was closed north­bound between J5 – J6 due to a seri­ous col­li­sion involv­ing 2 heavy goods vehi­cles and a car. Exten­sive inci­dent inves­ti­ga­tion work was required by West Midland’s Cen­tral Motor­way Police Group, as sadly this inci­dent resulted in a fatal­ity. All 4 lanes of car­riage­way required resur­fac­ing repair work as a result of a large vol­ume of diesel, which had spilt on to the car­riage­way caus­ing wide­spread dam­age to the road surface.


On the morn­ing of Thurs­day the 4th Feb­ru­ary 2016, at approx­i­mately 01:50 hours, our West Mid­lands Regional Con­trol Cen­tre was made aware by West Midland’s Cen­tral Motor­way Police Group of a mul­ti­ple vehi­cle col­li­sion on the M6 north­bound between J5 – J6 and that traf­fic was at a stand­still. Our West Mid­lands Regional Con­trol Cen­tre imme­di­ately deployed High­ways Eng­land Traf­fic Offi­cers to assist the Police and set appro­pri­ate signs and sig­nals on the M6 and M42.


M6 NB J5 - J6 Map



Upon early assess­ment of the seri­ous­ness of this inci­dent the Police requested the clo­sure of the north­bound car­riage­way at J5 and a clo­sure of lanes 3 and 4 on the south­bound car­riage­way to install inci­dent screens to block the view of the inci­dent to south­bound traf­fic. High­ways Eng­land con­trac­tors and our Traf­fic Offi­cers imple­mented the north­bound clo­sure at 02:16 hours and the lane clo­sures on the south­bound car­riage­way were in place at 02:18 hours.

Infor­ma­tion regard­ing the clo­sure was issued to West Mid­lands Twit­ter feed and High­ways Eng­land Break­ing News page and were con­tin­u­ally updated through­out the period of this inci­dent.  

Once the clo­sure was in place a num­ber of vehi­cles were trapped within the north­bound clo­sure. Police and our Traf­fic Offi­cers began a rear ward relief process of turn­ing the vehi­cles around so that they could exit the motor­way at J5. As this can be a long process, inci­dent screens were erected on the north­bound car­riage­way. Once in place the rear ward relief process stopped, as the inci­dent screens allowed trapped vehi­cles to pass the inci­dent scene using the hard shoul­der. A num­ber of vehi­cles within the trapped traf­fic had bro­ken down which caused some delays in mov­ing vehi­cles. All trapped vehi­cles were clear of the clo­sure at 04:49 hours apart from 1 HGV which was still await­ing vehi­cle recovery.

For vehi­cles which were not trapped within the clo­sure strate­gic vari­able mes­sage signs were set advis­ing traf­fic to use the M5/M42 as an alter­na­tive to the M6.  


Police col­li­sion inves­ti­ga­tion work was com­pleted at 09:00 hours which allowed vehi­cle recov­ery to attend scene and begin recov­ery work on the north­bound carriageway.

It was iden­ti­fied that there was an oil spillage and debris from the inci­dent in lanes 3 and 4 on the south­bound car­riage­way as well as dam­age to the cen­tral reser­va­tion. Once our con­trac­tors had repaired the bar­rier and cleared the car­riage­way of debris, they swept and grit­ted lanes 3 and 4 which enabled the south­bound car­riage­way to fully re-open at 09:21 hours.

The north­bound car­riage­way remained closed whilst vehi­cle recov­ery work con­tin­ued. Due to the nature of the inci­dent and vehi­cles involved it was not an easy recov­ery and vehi­cles were removed from the car­riage­way at 12:00 hours.  

Once all vehi­cles had been recov­ered our con­trac­tors were able to assess dam­age caused to the road sur­face and cen­tral reser­va­tion. They could also com­mence debris clear­ance work. How­ever, at this point a large diesel spillage was iden­ti­fied and this had caused exten­sive dam­age to the road surface.

After attempts to clear the spillage our contractor’s experts, deemed that the effects of the diesel had dete­ri­o­rated the road sur­face to such an extent that all 4 lanes required resur­fac­ing, a sec­tion which is 200m in length. To keep traf­fic mov­ing we would nor­mally try to reopen lanes past the scene but unfor­tu­nately in this instance the dam­age was too wide spread and it would not have been safe to do so.  

To resur­face 200m of car­riage­way, 320 tonnes of tar­mac and spe­cial­ist heavy equip­ment was required. The tar­mac was ordered and made on site from sup­pli­ers based in Leices­ter. 16 truck­loads were required to deliver the 320 tonnes of tar­mac from Leices­ter to J5 – J6 of the M6. Vehi­cles were escorted but due to the vol­ume of traf­fic approach­ing the clo­sure it did take some time for the deliv­er­ies to reach the scene of the incident.

Whilst tar­mac was on route our con­tac­tors began work remov­ing the dam­aged road sur­face, plain­ing all 4 lanes of carriageway.

Car­riage­way resur­fac­ing work was com­pleted at 22:44 hours but required time to cool and set before white line and stud replace­ment work could com­mence. At 23:49 hours white line and stud replace­ment work began and this was com­pleted at 00:46 hours on 05/02/2016.  

Before traf­fic man­age­ment could be removed our traf­fic offi­cers moved any vehi­cles which had bro­ken down in a live lane of queue­ing traf­fic between J4 – J5 onto the hard shoul­der. They also moved vehi­cles which had parked on the hard shoul­der and were not bro­ken down off the hard shoulder.

Our traf­fic offi­cers could then begin remov­ing traf­fic man­age­ment for the clo­sure with assis­tance from our contractors.

 At 01:47 all traf­fic man­age­ment had been removed and the north­bound car­riage­way had fully re-opened. Our vari­able mes­sage signs on the M6 and sur­round­ing motor­ways where changed to advise road users that the M6 north­bound between J5 – J6 was now open. 

For safety, our traf­fic offi­cers escorted traf­fic slowly and grad­u­ally back up to speed once the car­riage­way had re-opened.


Through­out this inci­dent, High­ways Eng­land updated cus­tomers via our web­site www.highways.gov.uk/traffic-information/ and via our West Mid­lands regional twit­ter feed.  

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