Drivers have been informed by Highways England that 2 years of roadworks are set to begin on the M6, planning to make a “smart motorway” between Coventry and Coleshill, which will start in a few weeks. They stated that the £234,000,000 project will be across a 14 mile stretch of the motorway, between junctions 2 (A46 Coventry) and 4 (M42 (S)/A46) set to begin on March 12.
The plan is already in place on the M42 and just further up the M6 past Birmingham, it involves turning the hard shoulder into a running lane during rush hour, as well as adapting speed limits to suit the time of day/amount of traffic.
Instead of closing lanes, the project’s plan is to place “narrow lanes” for drivers meaning engineers can manage the works safely without becoming a hazard for traffic. Some lane closures and full closures of the motorway are planned during the construction but Highways England hopes these plans can be carried out during the night to reduce the disturbance for drivers. The technique of a smart motorway was first used in 2006 on the M42 in the West Midlands.
In a statement regarding their plans, Highways England stated:
"Night-time closures will be necessary for this operation and clearly signed diversion routes will be in place whenever full carriageway closures are required, wherever possible, we will utilise land closures at night to minimise the number of full closures required.”
“Construction will inevitably have some impact on the local community, businesses and road users, for example construction noise and vibration or increased traffic on diversion routes. We will work closely with local authorities and local communities to identify any specific issues and implement measures to address them wherever possible."
If the project proves to be successful many more motorways could plan to use systems like this, which would also mean more construction on a national scale. With construction beginning on Monday, March 12th construction is set to be completed by 2020.