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The Project Control Framework

This framework sets out how we, together with the Department for Transport, manage and deliver major road improvement projects.

M6 Carlisle to Guards Mill Extension

M6 Carlisle to Guards Mill Extension

Located in
Area 13Map of the Agency's Operational Areas
Scheme type
Programme of Major SchemesRoad Schemes Managed by the Highways Agency

The Project

The A74 between Carlisle to Guards Mill was the last "missing link" in the motorway network between London and Glasgow. This dual carriageway section of trunk road had several minor road junctions and therefore mixed relatively low-speed local traffic with high-speed trunk road traffic. It had a poor accident record and caused driver frustration, resulting in heavy goods vehicles using the outside lane of each carriageway. The upgrade of this section to motorway standard is predicted to bring the following benefits to road users:

  • a reduction in the number of accidents on the route;
  • the provision of more carriageway space for emergency services attending accidents;
  • the provision of more carriageway space to enable traffic flows to be maintained following an accident;
  • a reduction in driver frustration;
  • an improvement in accessibility for users; and
  • the provision of more predictable journey times.

The needs of local traffic and non-motorway users are catered for with the new adjacent all-purpose road (APR) along the full length of the Scheme.

On 5th December 2008 the M6 Extension Carlisle to Guards Mill was officially opened by Transport Minister Andrew Adonis. This date also marked the 50 year anniversary since the opening of the Preston Bypass, the UK's first stretch of motorway and now part of the M6.

Construction Milestones

  • 25th July 2006 - Official start of construction with cutting ceremony.
  • 26th March 2008 - Completion of the new River Esk Bridge opened to traffic.
  • 10th June 2008 - Mossband viaduct (northbound) opened to traffic.
  • 11th June 2008 - Vehicle Operators Services Agency site handed over.
  • 5th November 2008 - Start of demolition of the old Mossband viaduct.
  • 28th November 2008 - New All-Purpose Road (APR) completely opened to traffic.
  • 5th December 2008 - Official completion of works ceremony with plaque unveiling by Transport Minister Andrew Adonis.
  • Christmas 2008 - Completion of the demolition of the old Mossband viaduct.

A brochure was produced to mark the completion of works and is available 'Publications' page.

The scheme is now officially complete following the opening of both the new motorway between Carlisle and Guards Mill and the new All-Purpose Road.

Following scheme completion, we undertake a Post Opening Project Evaluation (POPE) to assess whether the scheme has achieved its anticipated outcomes. The evaluation is generally carried out at one and five years after scheme opening. The results of the POPE allow us to learn lessons and improve future scheme delivery.

Please use the links to learn more about the POPE process and to find the latest POPE report for the M6 Carlisle to Guardsmill Extension scheme.

How do I find out more information?
If you have any queries about this project you should contact the Highways Agency Information Line by emailing or calling 0300 123 5000.

Scheme Location Map
Scheme Location Map