Press release

Highways England lifts Gravelly Hill roadworks to help Birmingham’s Big Weekend

Highways England is pausing roadworks at Gravelly Hill until the New Year to help journeys in the city go smoothly during a busy few weeks.

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All Highways England cones, signs and diversions have been removed from the A38(M) Aston Expressway and at M6 junction 6 ahead of Birmingham’s Big Weekend.

The weekend (26 to 27 September) is expected to be very busy for Birmingham with the relaunch of Grand Central station, the opening of a new flagship John Lewis store, and Rugby World Cup games being held at Villa Park.

Drivers heading to Villa Park for rugby fixtures on Saturday 26 September and Sunday 27 September are being advised to make time to plan their journey in advance.

Rugby World Cup organisers have arranged for shuttle buses and park and ride schemes for rugby fans – but these must be booked in advance.

City drivers not attending the World Cup should expect roads around the city to be busier than usual.

Frank Bird, emergency planning manager for the West Midlands for Highways England, said:

We’re really excited about Birmingham’s Big Weekend, which includes the Rugby World Cup games at Villa Park, the opening of Grand Central, and the first weekend trading for the new John Lewis store.

We’ve worked closely with event organisers and partners across the city to ensure visitors enjoy their trip to Birmingham at the weekend. We’re removing all our roadworks from the A38(M) Aston Expressway and from M6 junction 6 in time for the weekend.

And the good news for Birmingham drivers is that we’ve agreed to pause this work until the New Year – so these roads will stay clear of roadworks, barring any emergency repairs, right through until January.

Villa Park is hosting two games as part of the Rugby World Cup. South Africa v Samoa will kick-off at 16:45 on Saturday 26 September, with Australia taking on Uruguay at midday on Sunday 27 September.

Over the same weekend, the new John Lewis store will open within the newly refurbished Grand Central shopping centre.

Our regional control centre in Quinton, Birmingham, will monitor traffic, setting electronic signs and dispatching patrols of traffic officers to clear up any incidents as quickly as possible, to keep supporters and other motorway drivers on the move. We will keep a close eye on the potential for heavy traffic before and after the game and work to help minimise queues and disruption.

Drivers can plan their trip and check live travel conditions via Highways England’s traffic information and fans can find venue transport information at the Rugby World Cup website.

We’ve been able to suspend work at Gravelly Hill because we’d reached the end of the first phase of the project,” Frank Bird added.

At M6 junction 9, however, we are in the middle of the second phase – and it would be dangerous, impractical and expensive to remove these roadworks. So for the time being, the Western Arm scheme will stay in place, while we work to protect and waterproof the viaduct structures so they’re safe to use for years to come.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.

Published 15 September 2015