Shropshire Star

'Significant' delay warning as M6 Junction closes again this weekend

Drivers are being reminded to avoid Junction 10 of the M6 this weekend – as major works take place on the installation of a second four-lane bridge.

Drivers will again be diverted off the M6 at Junction 10 then rejoin the other side of the roundabout

National Highways has urged anyone who cannot avoid the area should allow extra time for their journeys, including football fans travelling to follow their teams.

Over the weekend, 44 metre-long steel bridge beams, weighing up to 120 tonnes, will be lowered into place as part of the £78 million improvement scheme at Junction 10 in Walsall.

Replacing the 50-year-old bridges currently in place, the two new wider structures will tackle the congestion at the busy junction.

Work was successfully carried out on the north bridge in August – and similar works are now needed to lift the beams into place for the south bridge, which will take place from tomorrow until the morning of Monday, September 27.

The five-braced pairs of steel beams are lifted into place by a giant crane during the north bridge works. Photo: Paul Turner

For the safety of both the workforce and road users, the motorway will be closed in both directions while the work takes place. Traffic will follow an ‘up and over’ diversion at Junction 10 which will leave the motorway at the junction, travel over the roundabout and then rejoin the M6 on the other side

The M6 southbound will close at the junction at 8pm tomorrow, while the northbound carriageway closes at 11pm.

National Highways project manager, Annie Hyett, said:  “We only shut motorways if absolutely necessary and appreciate the impact closures have on people.

"For the safety of all involved, we have to close the road this weekend while these heavy beams are lifted into place across the motorway using very large, specialist crane and plant equipment.

“We know there are likely to be significant delays at times and would remind anyone travelling along the M6 this weekend or in the local area to take alternative routes if at all possible.

“Once the new bridges are installed and the junction improvements completed drivers will be able to enjoy much smoother, safer and more reliable journeys.”

National Highways – formerly Highways England – and Walsall Council, supported by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, have joined forces to fund the upgrade. Contractor John Sisk & Son is carrying out the work.

The new beams have been delivered. Photo: National Highways

To help minimise disruption during the closure, motorists wishing to travel north or south are being advised to use alternative routes such as the M1.

Motorists faced two-hour delays last month during the previous closure.

Football supporters heading north for Manchester United vs Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday are advised to leave plenty of time for their journey and ensure they have supplies, such as water, with them.

Fans attending other games this weekend are also likely to face disruption, including those going to:

  • West Brom vs Queens Park Rangers (Friday 8pm)

  • Birmingham City vs Preston North End (Saturday 3pm)

  • Walsall vs Bristol Rovers (Saturday 3pm)

  • Southampton vs Wolves (Sunday 2pm)

The carriageway has to be closed while the bridge beams are lowered into position

Drivers should also be aware that there will also be a closure of Junction 19 at Knutsford this weekend, from 9pm on Saturday until 6am Monday, which could impact upon journey times.

Following the installation of the beams, a number of further overnight and daytime closures will be needed to fully construct the bridge.

From Monday, September 27, work will start to install the bridge deck panels. The M6 will be closed between the exit and entry slip roads at junction 10, between 8pm and 6am, every week night until October 20.

In addition, National Highways plan to close this section of motorway from 8pm on Saturday, October 9, until 6am on Monday, October 11. This extended road closure will allow workmen to lift over half of the bridge deck panels into place over the beams.

The ‘up and over’ diversion will be in place for all upcoming road closures.

The old bridges will be demolished later in the scheme.