M6 junctions 16-19: smart motorwayRecently updated

Improving the M6 motorway between junction 16 (Crewe) and junction 19 (Knutsford) by making it a smart motorway.

Region:  North West
Start date:  December 2015
Cost:  £192 to £274 million
Status:  CURRENT
Type:  Major Scheme
End date:  March 2019

What impact will this have on my journey?

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Progress report

We have increased the length of traffic management on the M6 junctions 16 to 19 scheme from 15 to 20 miles to deliver the scheme by March 2019, as published in the government's Roads Investment Strategy.

Increasing the traffic management by 5 miles enables us to start work earlier than currently planned, allowing us to complete the work as soon as possible.

For each closure, we have diversion routes that will be clearly signed.

Junctions 18 and 19

We have completed the works in the central reserve and have switched our traffic management to the verges where we are:

  • constructing new Emergency Refuge Areas (ERA’s)
  • replacing and renewing existing drainage and manholes
  • constructing the new ducting system for communications system
  • constructing foundations for new gantries
  • installing overhead gantries and electronic signage
  • installing full CCTV coverage

Junctions 17 and 18

We have completed the central reserve phase that included:

  • the installation of new concrete safety barriers
  • upgrading the drainage system extensively
  • protection to the structures affected by the scheme
  • resurfacing Lane 4

We have now switching our traffic management between junctions 17 and 18 to allow us to work in these verges as well.

Junctions 17 to 16

We are now working in the central reserve to:

  • improve the drainage system
  • install new concrete safety barriers
  • provide protection to the structures affected by the scheme

When we have completed this work we will again switch our traffic management to enable us to carry out the works in these verges as well.

What next?

During April our project team and road safety officers will be promoting a road safety campaign at the neighbouring motorway service areas on the M6. This will be run simultaneously with other smart motorway projects across the network. The campaign will highlight the number of vehicles from each project that have broken down within the road works and have needed recovering. This illustrates the importance of maintaining your vehicle to prevent both a breakdown and delays to other road users. There will also be tips for driving safely through the narrow lanes of the road works. The information will be available at Knutsford north and southbound motorway services, Sandbach north and southbound services, Keele northbound services and Lynm Truckstop throughout April.


Date Event
July 2013 Scheme announced in the Spending Review
2015 Project development phase ends Summer
End December 2015 Construction begins
End March 2019 Construction ends

Community news

The M6 junctions 16 to 19 project team brought some festive cheer to St Oswald’s Church in Brereton in December 2016, by creating some much needed disabled parking bays for their visitors and parishioners.

The Methodist church had no allocated disabled parking spaces within their grounds and asked if we could help. We agreed to provide all the required materials for the work, plus the manpower for their neighbouring church.

Over two weekends we worked at clearing an overgrown area of the church grounds close to the graveyard. We laid the foundations for the bays and tarmaced the area creating an ample sized car parking space for up to 3 disabled visitors.

The spaces will provide much needed access for those in wheelchairs or the less mobile.

Why we need this scheme

This section of the M6 currently suffers from excessive congestion and unreliable journey times.

The scheme in detail

We are improving a 20 miles (32km) stretch of the M6 motorway between Junction 16 (Crewe) and Junction 19 (Knutsford) by converting the existing motorway into an “All Lane Running” Smart Motorway. This is a motorway where all 4 lanes are open to traffic, with regular refuge areas available for emergency use in place of a hard shoulder. The latest technology is used to monitor the traffic flow and set speed limits to maintain a constant traffic flow. During these works we will convert the hard shoulder permanently in to a traffic lane. We will do this throughout the scheme unless there is an operational reason not to do so.


The objectives of the proposed scheme are to:
  • reduce congestion and smooth the flow of traffic to improve travel times and make journeys more reliable
  • support the economy and facilitate economic growth by providing much needed capacity on the motorway, reducing the cost of delays to commuters and business traffic
  • continue to deliver a high level of safety performance on the network using Smart Motorway techniques
  • minimise environmental impacts of the scheme
Our environmental team have been working hard to minimise any disturbance to badgers, including providing an artificial sett. As badgers are a protected species any monitoring has to be carried out under a license issued by Natural England. Great crested newts are also a protected species and our ecologists have carried out surveys of potential habitats. We have installed newt fencing in areas where we found evidence of great crested newts. The fencing allows us to safely trap and relocate the great crested newts under license from Natural England. This scheme is wholly located within an existing motorway and our research has indicated that no significant environmental effects are predicted. This means we are not required to produce an Environmental Impact Assessment. However, we feel we have a duty of care and want to protect the environment and local communities. So we have produced an Environmental Assessment Report to identify, manage and monitor the effects of all our major developments.

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Project timeline

Planned roadworks

Roadworks and Events for England

The latest incident information for England's motorway and trunk routes provided by Highways England

Location : The M6 northbound between junctions J16 and J19 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Road repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 21:00 and 06:00 from 30 April 2017 to 26 May 2017. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 21:00 and 06:00 from 30 May 2017 to 25 August 2017. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 21:00 and 06:00 from 29 August 2017 to 30 November 2017. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: April 30, 2017, 5:01 am
Location : The M6 northbound between junctions J16 and J19 . Reason : Roadworks. Status : Currently Active. Period : from 15:28 on 3 February 2017 to 06:00 on 30 November 2017.
Posted: April 21, 2017, 6:27 am


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