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M6 motorway

Route map:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

M6 shield
MapM6 highlighted in blue

Shown with UK motorway network
Gravelly Hill Interchange, best known as Spaghetti Junction
Route information
Part of E05, E18, E22 and E24
Maintained by National Highways
Length232.2 mi (373.7 km)
HistoryOpened: 1958
Latest extension: 2008
Major junctions
South endCatthorpe
52°24′01″N 1°10′31″W / 52.4004°N 1.1752°W / 52.4004; -1.1752 (M6, southern terminus)
Major intersections
North endGretna
54°59′35″N 3°02′54″W / 54.9930°N 3.0482°W / 54.9930; -3.0482 (M6, northern terminus)
CountryUnited Kingdom
Road network
M5 M6 Toll

The M6 motorway is the longest motorway in the United Kingdom. It is located entirely within England, running for just over 230 miles (370 km) from the Midlands to the border with Scotland. It begins at Junction 19 of the M1 and the western end of the A14 at the Catthorpe Interchange, near Rugby before heading north-west. It passes Coventry, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Preston, Lancaster and Carlisle before terminating at Junction 45 near Gretna. Here, just short of the Scottish border it becomes the A74(M) which continues to Glasgow as the M74. Its busiest sections are between junctions 4 and 10a in the West Midlands, and junctions 16 to 19 in Cheshire; these sections have now been converted to smart motorways.

It incorporated the Preston By-pass, the first length of motorway opened in the UK and forms part of a motorway "Backbone of Britain", running north–south between London and Glasgow via the industrial North of England. It is also part of the east–west route between the Midlands and the east-coast ports. The section from the M1 to the M6 Toll split near Birmingham forms part of the unsigned E-road E 24 and the section from the M6 Toll and the M42 forms part of E 05.



The M6 motorway runs from junction 19 of the M1 and the A14 in Catthorpe near Rugby in central England. It passes Coventry, Birmingham, Stafford, Wolverhampton and Stoke-on-Trent.[1] The motorway has major junctions with the M56 and M62 near Warrington, giving access to Chester, Manchester and Liverpool. It also meets the M65 at Junction 29, south of Preston, which connects Blackburn and Burnley, and the M55 at junction 32, north of Preston which links it to Blackpool.[2] The M6 then heads north past Wigan, Preston and Lancaster.[3] After the latter two cities it passes through Cumbria with some parts very close to the edge of the Lake District with a short stretch within the national park boundaries and then passes Carlisle on its way to Gretna,[4] before the motorway becomes the A74(M) a few hundred metres short of the Scottish border.[5][6]



Planning and construction


The first section of the motorway and the first motorway in the country was the Preston By-pass. It was built by Tarmac Construction and opened by the Prime Minister Harold Macmillan on 5 December 1958.[7] In January 1959 the Preston by-pass was closed because of rapid surface deterioration over a stretch of 100 yards (91 m) "due to water freezing and then thawing". Motorists were diverted to the old road while the UK road research laboratory at Harmondsworth pondered the importance of surface water drainage.[8]

The second phase of construction was completed in 1960, forming the Lancaster by-pass. Some 100 miles (160 km) south, the Stafford by-pass was completed in 1962.[9][10] By 1965, the remaining sections of motorway Stafford–Preston and Preston–Lancaster had been completed. 1966 saw junction 11 to 13 completed. 1968 saw the completion of the Walsall to Stafford link as well as the Penrith by-pass some 150 miles (240 km) north in Cumberland. In 1970, the Lancaster–Penrith link was completed, along with a short section of motorway by-passing the south of Walsall. The most northerly section of the motorway also opened in 1970, running to the designated terminus north of Carlisle. By 1971 the full route was completed between the junction with the M1 motorway at Rugby and the A38 road several miles north-east of Birmingham city centre,[9] including Bromford Viaduct between Castle Bromwich (J5) and Gravelly Hill (J6), which at 3.5 miles (5.6 km) is the longest viaduct in Great Britain.[11][12]

Junction 6 in Birmingham, which opened in May 1972, is widely known as Spaghetti Junction because of its complexity and round and curvy-like design. On the elevated ground between Shap and Tebay, the north and south-bound carriages split apart.[13] At this point a local road (to Scout Green) runs between the two carriageways without a link to the motorway.[14]

The section of the M6 that runs over Shap Fell in Cumbria at Shap Summit is 1,036 ft (316 m) above sea level, one of the highest points on any motorway in the UK (Junction 22 of the M62 on Moss Moor is higher). The motorway engineers here chose to follow the route of the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway engineered by Joseph Locke (now part of the West Coast Main Line) where the motorway runs in a split-level cutting above the railway in the descent from Shap Fell through the Lune Gorge into southern Cumbria.[15]

The northbound entry slip road at Lancaster (Junction 34) was unusually short, presenting problems for traffic joining the motorway. The M6 crosses the River Lune at this point and unless the bridge had been made wider, there was no space to build a longer slip road. This junction was upgraded from an earlier emergency-vehicles-only access point, which explains the substandard design.[16] The construction of the Heysham to M6 Link Road (The Bay Gateway) has completely re-modelled this junction with a wide additional bridge over the River Lune and other works repositioning slip roads with new acceleration lanes to modern standards.

The route was originally intended to replace the old A6, which it does along the northern section starting with the Preston Bypass. However, a much closer approximation to the overall actual route of the M6 (heading north from its southern terminus) is provided by following the A45, A34, A50, A49, then the A6.[17] South of Preston, the A6 route is instead supplemented by the M61 as far as Manchester, with the M60 acting as a bypass around the city. South of Manchester, there is no true motorway replacement for the old road. The M1 acts as a bypass for long-distance traffic in the south, from the Kegworth junction near Nottingham, to Luton and St. Albans near London; but, it is not an alternative for local traffic as the routes diverge by more than 15 miles (24 km) while passing through Northamptonshire. Across the Pennines, the old road remains the main local through-route, and long-distance fast traffic between Derby and Manchester must instead take either the A50 and M6, or M1 and M62.[18][unreliable source?]

Once all sections of the motorway were constructed, and it was finally all linked together, the result was an uninterrupted motorway length of 230 miles (370 km).[19][20][21]


The M6 in Cheshire in 1969

In July 1972, the Minister for Transport Industries, John Peyton, announced that 86 miles (138 km) of UK motorway particularly prone to fog would benefit from lighting in a project which "should be" completed by 1973.[22] Sections to be illuminated included the M6 between junctions 10 and 11, and between junctions 20 and 27.[22]

In March 2006, after 15 years of debate,[23] the government authorised the construction of a 6-mile (9.7 km) extension of the M6 from its then northern terminus near Carlisle to the Anglo-Scottish border at Gretna (the so-called "Cumberland Gap"), where it links into the existing A74(M).[24] The road opened on 5 December 2008, the 50th anniversary of the M6 Preston By-pass.[25] The project, which was a mixture of new road and upgrade of the existing A74, crosses the West Coast Main Line and had an estimated costs of £174 million. It completed an uninterrupted motorway from just south of Dunblane (via the M9, the recently opened M80 section near Cumbernauld and the M73) in the north to Exeter (via the M5) and to London (via both the M42/M40 and the M1) in the south.[26]

The M6 Toll, Britain's first toll motorway, which bypasses the West Midlands conurbation to the east and north of Birmingham and Walsall and was built to alleviate traffic congestion through the West Midlands, opened in December 2003. Before the opening of the toll motorway, this section of the M6 carried 180,000 vehicles per day at its busiest point near Wolverhampton (between the junctions with the M54 and M5 motorways), compared with a design capacity of only 72,000 vehicles. Usage, at about 50,000 vehicles, was lower than expected and traffic levels on the M6 were only slightly reduced as a result. The high toll prices, which were set by the operating company and over which the UK Government has no influence until 2054, were blamed for the low usage.[28][failed verification][citation needed] Much traffic continues to use the M6 or the continued on the M1 and took the A50 or A52.[29] As of July 2012 the road between Junctions 3A and 11A now carries 120,000 motor vehicles every day.[30]

A proposed extension to the M6 Toll known as the 'M6 Expressway', which would have continued from the M6 Toll as far as Knutsford, at which point much of the existing M6 traffic leaves the M6 for Manchester, was abandoned in 2006 due to excessive costs, anticipated construction problems[31] and disappointing levels of use of the M6 Toll.

In October 2007, following a successful trial on the M42 in the West Midlands, the government announced that two stretches of the M6 would be upgraded to allow the hard shoulder to be used as a normal running lane during busy conditions under a scheme called active traffic management.[32] The two stretches, between junctions 4 and 5 and between junctions 10a and 8, are two of the busiest sections on the entire motorway.[33] It was then proposed that the system could be extended onto other stretches of the M6 while the government undertook a feasibility study to determine other likely locations for this technology to be used.[34] The stretch between junctions 4 and 5 was completed during December 2009[35] while the stretch between junctions 10a and 8 was completed during March 2011.[36] This was then followed by a stretch between junctions 5 and 8 which started construction in April 2012 and was completed in October 2014.[37]

After plans of the government to improve reliability and capacity between Junctions 11 by Cannock and Junction 19 near Knutsford it favoured a new motorway in 2004, 'The Expressway' following a roughly parallel course to the existing M6.[38][39] In July 2006, the government announced its decision to abandon the Expressway proposal, and favoured widening accompanied by demand-management measures,[31] and launched a study to consider options for providing additional capacity.[40] After the stretch between junction 10a and 13 was upgraded to a managed motorway in February 2016,[41] it was then proposed to introduce a managed motorway between junction 13 and 19,[42] later divided into two separate stretches, between junctions 16 and 19 and junctions 13 and 15.[43] The stretch between junctions 16 and 19 started construction in December 2015[44] and was completed in March 2019[45] while construction on the stretch between junctions 13 and 15 commenced in March 2018[46] and was completed in August 2022.[47]

In April 2021, the M6 gained the first motorway service station to be built for thirteen years. Located off Junction 1 at Rugby and opened on 30 April 2021, the facility, run by Moto Hospitality, includes the largest electric vehicle charging facility in the UK, run by Ecotricity and Gridserve.[48][49]

Current developments


J10 improvements


Work started in 2020 to reconstruct the bridges above the motorway at junction 10, due to frequent congestion at peak times, due to be completed in 2024 at a cost of £78,000,000.[50]

J4 to J10A Dynamic Hard Shoulder enhancements


Work started in March 2022 to upgrade the existing Dynamic Hard Shoulder smart motorway to add newer safety features to the motorway, such as a concrete central reservation, new emergency areas and drainage improvements. Currently, this work does not have an end date proposed.[51]

J21A to J26 smart motorway


Work started in early 2021 to upgrade the M6 from junction J21A to J26 to the all lane running standard of smart motorway, with an estimated cost of between £100 million - £250 million. The smart motorway was originally due to be fully open in 2023, but is now delayed until 2025.[52]



Data from driver location signs are used to provide distance and carriageway identifier information. Where a junction spans several hundred metres (yards) and the start and end distances are known, both distances are shown.[53][54]

M6 motorway junctions
mile km Northbound exits (A carriageway) Junction Southbound exits (B carriageway) Coordinates
Motorway continues as A74(M) towards Scotland , Start of motorway 54°59′35″N 3°02′54″W / 54.9930°N 3.0482°W / 54.9930; -3.0482 (M6, northern terminus)
313.2 504.3 Gretna B7076, Longtown A6071 J45
No access (on-slip only) 54°59′35″N 3°02′54″W / 54.9930°N 3.0482°W / 54.9930; -3.0482 (M6, J45)
River Esk 54°58′29″N 3°00′33″W / 54.9748°N 3.0092°W / 54.9748; -3.0092 (M6, River Esk)
Todhills Rest Area Services Todhills Rest Area 54°57′06″N 2°58′47″W / 54.9516°N 2.9796°W / 54.9516; -2.9796 (M6, Todhills Rest Area)
Carlisle (North), Galashiels A7 J44
Carlisle A7, Workington A689 54°55′48″N 2°56′47″W / 54.9301°N 2.9463°W / 54.9301; -2.9463 (M6, J44)
River Eden 54°54′33″N 2°53′43″W / 54.9093°N 2.8953°W / 54.9093; -2.8953 (M6, River Eden)
Carlisle, Hexham, Newcastle A69 J43 Carlisle, Hexham, Newcastle A69 54°53′43″N 2°53′13″W / 54.8953°N 2.8869°W / 54.8953; -2.8869 (M6, J43)
Carlisle (South) A6 J42 Carlisle A6 54°51′27″N 2°52′42″W / 54.8576°N 2.8784°W / 54.8576; -2.8784 (M6, J42)
Southwaite services Services Southwaite services 54°47′57″N 2°52′16″W / 54.7991°N 2.8711°W / 54.7991; -2.8711 (M6, Southwaite Services)
Wigton B5305 J41 Wigton B5305 54°41′35″N 2°47′30″W / 54.693°N 2.7917°W / 54.693; -2.7917 (M6, J41)
Penrith, Workington, Brough A66 J40 Penrith, Keswick, Brough A66 54°39′11″N 2°45′37″W / 54.6531°N 2.7602°W / 54.6531; -2.7602 (M6, J40)
Shap (A6) J39 Shap, Kendal (A6) 54°30′30″N 2°38′59″W / 54.5083°N 2.6498°W / 54.5083; -2.6498 (M6, J39)
Tebay services Services Tebay services 54°27′05″N 2°36′29″W / 54.4513°N 2.6080°W / 54.4513; -2.6080 (M6, Tebay Services)
River Lune 54°26′28″N 2°35′42″W / 54.4411°N 2.5950°W / 54.4411; -2.5950 (M6, River Lune)
Brough A685, Appleby B6260 J38 Kendal, Brough A685 54°26′12″N 2°35′49″W / 54.4368°N 2.5969°W / 54.4368; -2.5969 (M6, J38)
Kendal, Sedbergh A684 J37 Kendal, Sedbergh A684 54°19′52″N 2°37′22″W / 54.3310°N 2.6229°W / 54.3310; -2.6229 (M6, J37)
No access Services Killington Lake services 54°18′54″N 2°38′21″W / 54.3150°N 2.6391°W / 54.3150; -2.6391 (M6, Killington Lake Services)
Barrow, Kendal A590 (A591), Kirkby Lonsdale A65 J36 Skipton, Kirkby Lonsdale A65, Barrow A590 54°14′11″N 2°42′59″W / 54.2364°N 2.7165°W / 54.2364; -2.7165 (M6, J36)
Burton-in-Kendal services Services No access 54°10′42″N 2°44′02″W / 54.1782°N 2.7339°W / 54.1782; -2.7339 (M6, Burton-in-Kendal Services)
Entering Cumbria Entering Lancashire 54°10′12″N 2°44′13″W / 54.1701°N 2.7370°W / 54.1701; -2.7370
Carnforth, Morecambe A601(M) (A6) J35 Carnforth, Morecambe A601(M) (A6) 54°07′43″N 2°44′59″W / 54.1287°N 2.7498°W / 54.1287; -2.7498 (M6, J35)
Kirkby Lonsdale, Heysham, Morecambe, Heysham A683, Lancaster A589 J34 Lancaster, Morecambe, Heysham A683 54°04′18″N 2°46′16″W / 54.0716°N 2.7711°W / 54.0716; -2.7711 (M6, J34)
Lancaster (South) A6 J33 Garstang, Fleetwood A6 53°58′57″N 2°46′51″W / 53.9825°N 2.7807°W / 53.9825; -2.7807 (M6, J33)
Lancaster (Forton) services Services Lancaster (Forton) services 53°57′44″N 2°45′37″W / 53.9621°N 2.7602°W / 53.9621; -2.7602 (M6, Lancaster (Forton) Services)
River Wyre 53°57′14″N 2°45′05″W / 53.9539°N 2.7514°W / 53.9539; -2.7514 (M6, River Wyre)
Blackpool, Fleetwood M55
Preston (N) (A6)
J32 Blackpool, Preston (N) (A6) M55 53°48′24″N 2°41′52″W / 53.8068°N 2.6978°W / 53.8068; -2.6978 (M6, J32)
Preston (E), Longridge B6242 J31A No access (on-slip only) 53°47′20″N 2°39′30″W / 53.7889°N 2.6583°W / 53.7889; -2.6583 (M6, J31A)
River Ribble J31 Preston, Clitheroe A59 53°45′54″N 2°38′09″W / 53.7649°N 2.6359°W / 53.7649; -2.6359 (M6, J31)
Preston (C), Blackburn (N), Clitheroe A59 River Ribble
No access (on-slip only) J30 Manchester, Bolton M61, Leeds (M62), Blackburn (M65) 53°44′03″N 2°38′52″W / 53.7343°N 2.6477°W / 53.7343; -2.6477 (M6, J30)
Burnley, Blackburn, Preston (S) M65 J29 Burnley, Blackburn M65 53°42′58″N 2°39′39″W / 53.7162°N 2.6608°W / 53.7162; -2.6608 (M6, J29)
Leyland B5256 (A49) J28 Leyland B5256 53°41′45″N 2°40′39″W / 53.6959°N 2.6776°W / 53.6959; -2.6776 (M6, J28)
Charnock Richard services Services Charnock Richard services 53°37′53″N 2°41′27″W / 53.6315°N 2.6908°W / 53.6315; -2.6908 (M6, Charnock Richard Services)
204.8 329.6 Entering Lancashire J27 Wigan, Parbold A5209 53°35′23″N 2°41′40″W / 53.5897°N 2.6944°W / 53.5897; -2.6944 (M6, J27)
204.4 329.0 Parbold, Standish, Chorley A5209 Entering Greater Manchester
Gathurst Viaduct 53°33′42″N 2°42′03″W / 53.5617°N 2.7009°W / 53.5617; -2.7009 (M6, Gathurst Viaduct)
Skelmersdale, Liverpool, Southport M58 J26 Skelmersdale, Liverpool, Southport M58 53°32′03″N 2°41′53″W / 53.5341°N 2.6980°W / 53.5341; -2.6980 (M6, J26)
Wigan, Ashton A49 J25 No exit (on-slip only) 53°30′06″N 2°39′35″W / 53.5018°N 2.6597°W / 53.5018; -2.6597 (M6, J25)
No exit (on-slip only) J24 St Helens, Ashton (no entry - exit only) A58 53°29′12″N 2°39′10″W / 53.4867°N 2.6529°W / 53.4867; -2.6529 (M6, J24)
Entering Greater Manchester Entering Merseyside 53°28′49″N 2°38′38″W / 53.4802°N 2.6440°W / 53.4802; -2.6440
St Helens, Liverpool, Southport A580 J23 Manchester, Liverpool, Newton A580 53°28′17″N 2°38′01″W / 53.4713°N 2.6336°W / 53.4713; -2.6336 (M6, J23)
192.4 309.6 Entering Merseyside J22 Warrington (North) A49 53°26′24″N 2°35′03″W / 53.4401°N 2.5841°W / 53.4401; -2.5841 (M6, J22)
192.1 309.1 Newton A49, Leigh A579 Entering Cheshire
Leeds, Bolton, Manchester (N) M62 J21A Manchester, Bolton, Leeds M62 53°25′33″N 2°33′21″W / 53.4259°N 2.5559°W / 53.4259; -2.5559 (M6, J21A)
Liverpool, Warrington (N), Southport (M57) M62 Liverpool M62
Warrington (Ctr & East), Irlam A57 J21 Warrington (Central), Irlam A57 53°23′52″N 2°30′36″W / 53.3978°N 2.5099°W / 53.3978; -2.5099 (M6, J21)
Thelwall Viaduct 53°23′23″N 2°30′21″W / 53.3898°N 2.5058°W / 53.3898; -2.5058 (M6, Thelwall Viaduct)
185.6 298.7 North Wales, Chester, Runcorn M56
Warrington (South), Lymm A50
Lymm Truck Stop
Macclesfield, Warrington (S) A50, Lymm B5158
Lymm Truck Stop
53°21′37″N 2°30′33″W / 53.3604°N 2.5091°W / 53.3604; -2.5091 (M6, J20)
North Wales, Chester, Runcorn, Manchester (S & Airport interchange) M56[Note 1] 53°21′31″N 2°30′29″W / 53.3585°N 2.5080°W / 53.3585; -2.5080 (M6, J20A)
End of variable speed limit J19 Start of variable speed limit 53°18′42″N 2°25′03″W / 53.3116°N 2.4176°W / 53.3116; -2.4176 (M6, J19)
Manchester, Manchester Airport interchange (M56) A556 Northwich, Macclesfield, Knutsford A556
Knutsford services Services[Note 2] Knutsford services 53°18′03″N 2°24′06″W / 53.3008°N 2.4016°W / 53.3008; -2.4016 (M6, Knutsford Services)
Chester, Northwich, Middlewich A54 J18 Chester, Northwich, Middlewich A54 53°12′01″N 2°23′15″W / 53.2004°N 2.3875°W / 53.2004; -2.3875 (M6, J18)
Congleton, Sandbach A534 J17 Congleton, Sandbach A534 53°09′12″N 2°20′48″W / 53.1532°N 2.3467°W / 53.1532; -2.3467 (M6, J17)
Sandbach services Services Sandbach services 53°08′20″N 2°20′11″W / 53.1390°N 2.3365°W / 53.1390; -2.3365 (M6, Sandbach Services)
162.6 261.7 Entering Cheshire J16 Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stoke-on-Trent (North), Crewe, Nantwich A500 53°04′07″N 2°20′01″W / 53.0686°N 2.3336°W / 53.0686; -2.3336 (M6, J16)
Start of variable speed limit End of variable speed limit
162.3 261.2 Nantwich, Crewe A500 Entering Staffordshire
Keele services Services Keele services 52°59′37″N 2°17′22″W / 52.9936°N 2.2894°W / 52.9936; -2.2894 (M6, Keele Services)
Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme A500 J15 Stoke-on-Trent, Stone A500, Derby (A50) 52°58′32″N 2°13′35″W / 52.9756°N 2.2263°W / 52.9756; -2.2263 (M6, J15)
Stafford services (northbound) Services No access 52°53′02″N 2°10′07″W / 52.8839°N 2.1686°W / 52.8839; -2.1686 (M6, Stafford Services (Northbound))
No access Stafford services (southbound) 52°52′26″N 2°09′54″W / 52.8739°N 2.1649°W / 52.8739; -2.1649 (M6, Stafford Services (Southbound))
Stone, Stafford (N) A34 J14 Stafford (N) A34 52°49′35″N 2°08′44″W / 52.8265°N 2.1456°W / 52.8265; -2.1456 (M6, J14)
End of variable speed limit J13 Start of variable speed limit 52°45′49″N 2°06′28″W / 52.7636°N 2.1079°W / 52.7636; -2.1079 (M6, J13)
Stafford (S & C) A449 Stafford (S) A449
Telford (M54) A5 J12 North Wales, Telford (M54), Wolverhampton, Cannock A5 52°41′20″N 2°06′13″W / 52.6890°N 2.1035°W / 52.6890; -2.1035 (M6, J12)
No access (on-slip only) J11A
The South M6 Toll 52°40′10″N 2°04′27″W / 52.6695°N 2.0743°W / 52.6695; -2.0743 (M6, J11A)
(M6 Toll), Cannock A460 J11 Wolverhampton, Cannock A460 52°39′30″N 2°03′52″W / 52.6584°N 2.0644°W / 52.6584; -2.0644 (M6, J11)
Hilton Park services Services Hilton Park services 52°38′36″N 2°03′23″W / 52.6434°N 2.0565°W / 52.6434; -2.0565 (M6, Hilton Park Services)
North & Mid Wales, Telford, Wolverhampton, Shrewsbury (A5) M54 J10A No access (on-slip only) 52°37′49″N 2°02′56″W / 52.6302°N 2.0490°W / 52.6302; -2.0490 (M6, J10A)
Entering West Midlands 52°37′07″N 2°01′56″W / 52.6187°N 2.0321°W / 52.6187; -2.0321
Entering Staffordshire 52°37′01″N 2°01′49″W / 52.6169°N 2.0304°W / 52.6169; -2.0304
Walsall, Wolverhampton (C & E) A454 J10 Wolverhampton (C & E), Walsall A454 52°35′06″N 2°00′51″W / 52.5849°N 2.0143°W / 52.5849; -2.0143 (M6, J10)
Wednesbury A461 J9 Wednesbury A461 52°33′59″N 2°00′12″W / 52.5665°N 2.0032°W / 52.5665; -2.0032 (M6, J9)
119.9 193.0 The South West, Birmingham (W & S), West Bromwich M5 J8
The South West, Birmingham (W & S), West Bromwich M5 52°33′26″N 1°58′36″W / 52.5571°N 1.9767°W / 52.5571; -1.9767 (M6, J8)
Birmingham (N), Walsall A34 J7
Birmingham (N) A34 52°33′11″N 1°56′02″W / 52.5531°N 1.9340°W / 52.5531; -1.9340 (M6, J7)
Birmingham (C) A38(M)
Birmingham (NE) A38
Birmingham (NE), Lichfield A38
Birmingham (E & C) A38(M)
52°30′36″N 1°51′50″W / 52.5101°N 1.8638°W / 52.5101; -1.8638 (M6, J6)
Bromford Viaduct 52°30′22″N 1°49′44″W / 52.5060°N 1.8290°W / 52.5060; -1.8290 (M6, Bromford Viaduct)
Birmingham (E), Sutton Coldfield A452 J5
No access (on-slip only) 52°30′33″N 1°47′21″W / 52.5093°N 1.7891°W / 52.5093; -1.7891 (M6, J5)
Entering Warwickshire 52°30′47″N 1°45′13″W / 52.5130°N 1.7536°W / 52.5130; -1.7536
No access (on-slip only) J4A The North East (M1), The North West (M6 Toll), Tamworth M42(N)
The South West (M5), London (S & W) (M40), Birmingham (S), Birmingham International , Birmingham Airport interchange, National Exhibition Centre M42(S)
52°30′36″N 1°44′50″W / 52.5100°N 1.7471°W / 52.5100; -1.7471 (M6, J4A)
Entering West Midlands 52°28′43″N 1°42′54″W / 52.4786°N 1.7150°W / 52.4786; -1.7150
106.0 170.6 Start of variable speed limit J4 Coventry (S & W), Birmingham (E), N.E.C., Birmingham International , Birmingham Airport interchange A446 52°28′36″N 1°42′26″W / 52.4768°N 1.7072°W / 52.4768; -1.7072 (M6, J4)
105.7 170.1 Coleshill A446
The South West (M5), Birmingham (S), Solihull, Birmingham International , N.E.C., Birmingham Airport interchange M42
End of variable speed limit
The North West M6 Toll, Tamworth M42(N) J3A
No access (on-slip only) 52°28′26″N 1°40′18″W / 52.4739°N 1.6717°W / 52.4739; -1.6717 (M6, J3A)
Corley services Services Corley services 52°28′17″N 1°32′47″W / 52.4715°N 1.5463°W / 52.4715; -1.5463 (M6, Corley Services)
Coventry (North), Nuneaton, Bedworth A444 J3 Coventry (N), Nuneaton A444, Bedworth B4113 52°27′47″N 1°29′38″W / 52.4630°N 1.4938°W / 52.4630; -1.4938 (M6, J3)
Entering Warwickshire Entering West Midlands 52°27′29″N 1°28′58″W / 52.4580°N 1.4827°W / 52.4580; -1.4827
Entering West Midlands Entering Warwickshire 52°26′24″N 1°26′24″W / 52.4400°N 1.4400°W / 52.4400; -1.4400
Coventry, Warwick A46
Leicester, Hinckley M69
J2 (M1(N)), Leicester M69, Coventry (E) A46 52°26′16″N 1°25′47″W / 52.4379°N 1.4298°W / 52.4379; -1.4298 (M6, J2)
Rugby A426
Rugby services
Rugby, Lutterworth A426
Rugby services
52°24′29″N 1°14′45″W / 52.4081°N 1.2457°W / 52.4081; -1.2457 (M6, J1)
Entering Warwickshire Entering Leicestershire 52°24′22″N 1°12′35″W / 52.4060°N 1.2096°W / 52.4060; -1.2096
85.2 137.1 Start of motorway M1 J19
The South, London, Northampton M1(S) 52°24′01″N 1°10′31″W / 52.4004°N 1.1752°W / 52.4004; -1.1752 (M6, southern terminus)
The North, Leicester M1(N) End of motorway
Road continues as
A14 towards Kettering
  1. ^
    1: Southbound offslip for the M56 signed as J20A.
  2. ^
    2: Unsuitable for heavy goods vehicles.



Each motorway in England requires that a statutory instrument be published, detailing the route of the road, before it can be built. The dates given on these statutory instruments relate to when the document was published, and not when the road was built. Provided below is an incomplete list of statutory instruments relating to the route of the M6.

  • Statutory Instrument 1987 No. 252: County Council of West Midlands (M6 Motorway Junction 10) (Connecting Road) Scheme 1985 Confirmation Instrument 1987[55]
  • Statutory Instrument 1987 No. 2254: M6 Motorway (Catthorpe Interchange) Connecting Roads Scheme 1987[56]
  • Statutory Instrument 1990 No. 2659: M6 Motorway: Widening between Junctions 20 and 21A (Thelwall Viaduct) and Connecting Roads Scheme 1990[57]
  • Statutory Instrument 1991 No. 1873: M6 Motorway (Widening and Improvements Between Junctions 30 and 32) and Connecting Roads Scheme 1991[58]
  • Statutory Instrument 1993 No. 1370: Lancashire County Council (Proposed Connecting Roads to M6 Motorway at Haighton) Special Roads Scheme 1992 Confirmation Instrument 1993[59]
  • Statutory Instrument 1997 No. 1292: M6 Birmingham to Carlisle Motorway (At Haighton) Connecting Roads Scheme 1997[60]
  • Statutory Instrument 1997 No. 1293: M6 Birmingham To Carlisle Motorway (at Haighton) Special Roads Scheme 1997 Transfer Order 1997[61]
  • Statutory Instrument 1998 No. 125: The M6 Motorway (Saredon and Packington Diversions) Scheme 1998[62]

See also



  1. ^ Northbound only
  2. ^ Southbound only
  3. ^ Northbound operated by Moto, southbound by Roadchef.


  1. ^ Frommer's Short (22 December 2011). "4". The Borders and Galloway Regions, Scotland: Frommer's ShortCuts. 1. Vol. I (I ed.). London: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 56–. ISBN 978-1-118-27111-7.
  2. ^ Highways Agency, ed. (2004). "1". M6 Route Management Strategy: Warrington to the Scottish Borders : Final Strategy Summary Brochure, January 2004. 1. Vol. 1 (I ed.). Scotland: Highways Agency. p. 54.
  3. ^ Lesley Anne Rose; Michael Macaroon; Vivienne Crow (6 January 2012). "36". Frommer's Scotland. I. Vol. I (I ed.). London: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 424–. ISBN 978-1-119-99276-9.
  4. ^ Baldwin, Peter; Porter (M.S.), John; Baldwin, Robert (2004). "72". In Thomas Telford (ed.). The Motorway Achievement. Vol. I (One ed.). London: Thomas Telford. pp. 836–. ISBN 978-0-7277-3196-8. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  5. ^ Highways Agency, ed. (2004). "1". M6 Route Management Strategy: Warrington to the Scottish Borders : Final Strategy Summary Brochure, January 2004. 1. Vol. 1 (I ed.). Scotland: Highways Agency. p. 73.
  6. ^ Frommer's Short (22 December 2011). "3". The Borders and Galloway Regions, Scotland: Frommer's ShortCuts. Vol. I (I ed.). Scotland: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 56–. ISBN 978-1-118-27111-7. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  7. ^ "Preston Bypass Opening (Booklet)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 February 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2008.
  8. ^ "The Preston By-pass-Enquiry Needed". Practical Motorist and Motor Cyclist. Vol. 5, no. 57. March 1959. p. 803.
  9. ^ a b The Highway Engineer. Institution of Highway Engineers. 1981. p. 23. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  10. ^ "III". Surveyor. 1. Vol. XII (XII ed.). London: The St. Bride's Press. 1978. p. 35.
  11. ^ "Midland Links Motorways. M5 (J1 to J3) and M6 (J13 to J1)". Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  12. ^ Bridle, Ron; Porter, John, eds. (2002). The Motorway Achievement – Frontiers of Knowledge and Practice. Vol. 2. Thomas Telford. pp. 539–. ISBN 978-0-7277-3197-5.
  13. ^ Carpenter, T. G. (27 January 2011). Construction in the Landscape: A Handbook for Civil Engineering to Conserve Global Land Resources. Routledge. pp. 143–. ISBN 978-1-84407-923-0. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  14. ^ The Spectator. Vol. 245. F. C. Westley. 1980. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  15. ^ The Municipal Journal, vol. 73, Ministry of Housing and Local Government, 1965
  16. ^ House of Commons: Transport Committee (2 August 2005). Road Pricing: The Next Steps; Seventh Report of Session 2004–05. The Stationery Office. pp. 46–. ISBN 978-0-215-02566-1.
  17. ^ Baldwin, Peter; Baldwin, Robert, eds. (2004). The Motorway Achievement – The British Motorway System: Visualisation, Policy and Achievement. Vol. 1. Thomas Telford. pp. 469–. ISBN 978-0-7277-3196-8.
  18. ^ "M6". The Motorway Archive. Midland Links Motorways. Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  19. ^ Surveyor. The St. Bride's Press. 1978. p. 21.
  20. ^ British Information Services; Great Britain. Central Office of Information (1 January 1970). "I". Survey of British and Commonwealth affairs. One. Vol. I (I ed.). England, United Kingdom: Published for British Information Services by Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  21. ^ Central Office of Information (1979). Inland transport in Britain. H.M.S.O. ISBN 978-0-11-700989-9. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  22. ^ a b "News: Motorway lighting". Autocar. Vol. 137, no. 3, 978. 13 July 1972. p. 19.
  23. ^ "M6 Carlisle — Gretna". CBRD. Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation. Archived from the original on 27 October 2007. Retrieved 20 January 2008.
  24. ^ "M6 Carlisle to Guards Mill Extension". Highways Agency. Archived from the original on 10 August 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  25. ^ "M6 North Extension, United Kingdom". Road Traffic Technology. Retrieved 20 January 2008.
  26. ^ Royal Town Planning Institute (2006). "I". Planning: for the natural and built environment. Vol. I (1 ed.). London: Planning Publications. p. 14.
  27. ^ "An online guide to motorway services". Motorway Services Online. Retrieved 20 June 2023.
  28. ^ "One year after study" (PDF). Highways Agency. 11 August 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2008.
  29. ^ Highways & Road Construction International. Vol. 41. 1973.
  30. ^ Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons (2012). Parliamentary debates: Official report. H.M. Stationery Off.[full citation needed]
  31. ^ a b "Decision on M6 Upgrade Announced". News Distribution Service for the Government and Public Sector. Archived from the original on 4 May 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  32. ^ "Hard-shoulder scheme to go nationwide". The Independent. 27 October 2007. Archived from the original on 27 October 2007. Retrieved 25 January 2007.
  33. ^ Colwill, D. M. (2004). "16: Safety research at the Transport Research Laboratory". In Baldwin, Peter; Baldwin, Robert (eds.). The Motorway Achievement – The British Motorway System: Visualisation, Policy and Achievement. Vol. 1. Thomas Telford. p. 693. ISBN 978-0-7277-3196-8.
  34. ^ Colwill, D. M. (2004). "16: Safety research at the Transport Research Laboratory". In Baldwin, Peter; Baldwin, Robert (eds.). The Motorway Achievement – The British Motorway System: Visualisation, Policy and Achievement. Vol. 1. Thomas Telford. pp. 694–. ISBN 978-0-7277-3196-8.
  35. ^ "Highways Agency: Transport Minister opens England's second Hard Shoulder Running Scheme". MyNewsDesk. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  36. ^ "Hard shoulders opens on busy M6 by Birmingham". BBC News. BBC News. 22 March 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  37. ^ "M6 Birmingham Box ATM Phase 3". Roads.org. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  38. ^ "Encouraging better use of roads and the M6". Department for Transport. Archived from the original on 11 August 2007. Retrieved 20 January 2008.
  39. ^ Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Welsh Affairs Committee (22 December 2010). The Severn crossings toll: third report of session 2010–11, report, together with formal minutes and written evidence. The Stationery Office. pp. 58–. ISBN 978-0-215-55570-0. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  40. ^ "M6 Jct 11A – 19 (Increasing Capacity) Study". Highways Agency. Archived from the original on 10 August 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  41. ^ "M6 J10A-13 Smart Motorway". Roads.org. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  42. ^ "M6 Junctions 13–19 Managed Motorway".
  43. ^ "Big six share £1.5bn smart motorway contracts". The Construction Index. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  44. ^ "M6 junctions 16-19: smart motorway". Highways England. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  45. ^ "M6 smart motorway upgrade between Crewe and Knutsford opens". BBC News. 25 March 2019. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  46. ^ "M6 junction 13 to junction 15 smart motorway". National Highways. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2023.
  47. ^ "M6 motorway upgrade now fully open". Express & Star. 15 August 2022. Retrieved 28 January 2023.
  48. ^ Trinkwon, Will (30 April 2021). "Electric Highways opens UK's largest EV motorway charging station". Autocar. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  49. ^ Clark, Madeleine (30 April 2021). "More than 100 jobs created at UK's first electric vehicle motorway services in Rugby". The Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  50. ^ "M6 junction 10 improvement". Highways England. 19 May 2020. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  51. ^ "M6 junctions J4 to J10A Dynamic Hard Shoulder Enhancements". National Highways. 22 March 2023. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  52. ^ "M6 junctions J21A to J26 Smart Motorway". National Highways. 22 March 2023. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  53. ^ Driver Location Signs, M6 J4-18(map) Highway Authority 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  54. ^ Driver Location Signs, Highway Agency Area 10 (map) – Highway Authority, 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  55. ^ "S.I. 1987/252". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  56. ^ "S.I. 1987/2254". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  57. ^ "S.I. 1990/2659". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  58. ^ "S.I. 1991/1873". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  59. ^ "S.I. 1993/1370". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  60. ^ "S.I. 1997/1292". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  61. ^ "S.I. 1997/1293". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  62. ^ "S.I. 1998/125". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 9 July 2012.

Further reading


Geographic data related to M6 motorway at OpenStreetMap

KML is from Wikidata