Press release

Weekend testing on the M6 near Birmingham ahead of smart motorway opening

Hard shoulder running tests will take place this Sunday, 30 March on a short stretch of the M6 in Birmingham, with a view to an extra lane becoming fully operational by Easter. A further day of testing on Sunday 6 April may also be needed.


During the testing Highways Agency traffic officer vehicles will be used between junction 5 at Castle Bromwich and 6 at the Gravelly Hill interchange on the M6 to check CCTV camera positions are correct so the agency’s Regional Control Centre has good visibility of the whole stretch.

If tests are successful, the smart motorway scheme, which uses electronic gantry signs to display variable speed limits and open up the hard shoulder as an additional traffic lane during busy periods, will open between junctions 5 and 6 in mid-April.

.Rob Edwards, project manager for the scheme, said:

Motorists have already started to benefit from this scheme nearing completion by using the smart motorway between junctions 6 and 8.

Provided we are satisfied the control centre has complete visual coverage of the hard shoulder and camera alignment is correct, will be in operation from before the Easter break, meaning road users will benefit from this extra capacity during the busy holiday getaway.

Three live lanes will continue to be in operation during the tests, but should signs be in operation during testing and the hard shoulder is opened to traffic, motorists should obey the signs.

When fully operational, road users will benefit from a third more capacity, reduced congestion and more reliable journey times through the use of variable mandatory speed limits and opening up of the hard shoulder as an extra running lane when needed.

The testing will not cause any disruption or delays for drivers.

People can find out more about the M6 junction 5 to junction 8 project, the specific closures needed and their diversion routes by visiting the scheme’s website http://​www​.highways​.gov​.uk/​r​o​a​d​s​/​r​o​a​d​-​p​r​o​j​e​c​t​s​/​m​6​-​b​i​r​m​i​n​g​h​a​m​-​b​o​x​-​p​h​a​s​e​-​3​-​m​a​n​a​g​e​d​-​m​o​t​o​r​w​ays or by calling the Highways Agency Information Line (HAIL) on 0300 123 5000.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000

Media enquiries

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

Published 27 March 2014