This road project has now been completed. This page will be available for 24 months from the date of scheme completion, after which time you will only be able to access this information on The National Archive version of this page.

M6 Junction 10a to13: Smart Motorway

Project status:   Completed
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


Where was the project located?

The M6 junction 10a to 13 smart motorway scheme was carried out on the M6 between junction 10a in the West Midlands and junction 13 in Stafford.

Why was the scheme needed?

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.

What work was carried out?

This project had 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 was not 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 were installed as part of the improvement scheme. Some existing vegetation within the highway boundary was removed to make space for the new infrastructure. Replacement planting was provided, where possible, around the new infrastructure.

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

How did this benefit road users?

Smart motorways allow a pro-active approach to the strategic management of our road network. This will allow us to better fulfil our role as Network Operator and support economic development in the region.

This project brings together motorway technologies, infrastructure and procedures, from the UK and around the world, to maximise a number of benefits:

  • Additional capacity for vehicles
  • Improving the detection of incidents
  • Improving the response to incidents
  • Helping to alleviate congestion
  • Reducing delays caused by incidents or congestion
  • Piloting new and innovative concepts
  • Targeted solutions to specific problems

Building on best practice and experience, smart motorways combines existing technology with new and innovative ideas. Together, these make the best use of the existing road space to provide additional capacity for vehicles, reducing congestion and improving safety.

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. Analysis of the data gathered since opening 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 ?

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

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.