The M6 motorway spans over 230 miles in length and covers the Midlands, through to the north of the UK, and upwards into the Scottish border.
The M6 starts at Junction 19 of the M1 at the Catthorpe Interchange, near Rugby, and then routes around Birmingham, Staffordshire, Stoke on Trent and between Liverpool and Manchester. It goes past Preston, Morecambe and into Carlisle before ending at Gretna, in Scotland, and connecting to the A74(M). It connects to major junctions the M56 and M62.
The M6 covers several counties - Leicestershire, Warwickshire, West Midlands, Staffordshire, Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cumbria.
The M6 also includes the infamous Spaghetti Junction, officially junction 6 of the motorway, which is a particularly complex junction. Viewed from above it looks like a criss-cross of roads and interchanges. Junction 6 meets the A38 Aston Expressway in the Gravelly Hill area of Birmingham.
Worst Junctions on the M6
Throughout the route of the motorway there are several junctions likely to cause delays, so before starting a journey make sure you check for the latest M6 travel news and M6 traffic updates. The following junctions are common hotspots:
Junction 7 - Great Barr Interchange
Junction 7 is where the M6 connects to the A34, which is the main road between Birmingham and Walsall. There is heavy traffic flow here and the merging of sliproads to the roundabout causes issues.
Junction 26 - Orrell Interchange
This junction connects to the M58, and sees traffic moving to and from Wigan and Liverpool. Congestion is not helped by the fact that the roundabout reduces from three lanes to two on approach.
Junction 15 - Hanchurch Interchange
The Hanchurch Interchange routes M6 traffic to the A500 towards Stoke on Trent, but flow is slowed by both a roundabout and a set of traffic lights.
The M6 Toll is often viewed as an inconvenience. It’s not particularly busy, used by less than 50,000 motorists a day, but slowing to pay a toll can still lead to queues.
Accident Hotspots on the M6
The 20-mile stretch of motorway between junctions 16 and 19 of the M6 is considered an accident blackspot. This is the section of the motorway that runs between Crewe and Knutsford. At the end of 2015, construction in that area began to install concrete safety barriers in the centre of the carriageway, among other improvements.
The intention is to turn this section of the M6 to a smart motorway, by 2019. If you’re planning to travel on this part of the motorway, check M6 travel news before and during your journey to stay aware of any potential delays and problems.
Upcoming M6 Major Roadworks
Because of the size and importance of the M6, there are regular roadworks and plans for improvements. Check any journey using the RAC Route Planner and note any M6 traffic updates to avoid getting caught up in roadworks and delays.
Upcoming major roadworks on the M6 include:
M6 Junction 10 - a major scheme is planned to start in 2018, ending in 2020. The aim is to reduce congestion and queues.
M54 to M6/M6 Toll - there is a proposal for a new link road between the M54 and the M6. The proposed start of construction is Spring 2021, with an end date of Spring 2024. The plan is to reduce traffic congestion on three roads - the A460, A449 and A5.
M6 Junction 13 to 15 - this is proposed construction to make the stretch of M6 between Stafford and Newcastle Under Lyme a smart motorway. Work is expected to be completed by March 2022.
M6 Junction 2 to Junction 4 - Scheduled for completion in March 2020, this work will improve the 13.6 mile stretch of motorway between Coventry and Coleshill, making it a smart motorway.