Work to upgrade the M6 to provide Smart Motorway technology between Stafford and Stoke on Trent, in order to tackle congestion and improve capacity. This section of the motorway is one of the busiest parts that have not yet been converted.
Like nearby Smart Motorway projects on the M6 between junctions 10 and 12, and between17 and 19, is expected to include all-lane-running (conversion of the hard shoulder to a full-time normal traffic lane) as well as variable speed limits and other signalling technology.
This scheme is part of the Smart Motorways programme of works.
This scheme will also involve some improvements to J15, according to the video in the scheme's webpage, which implies something happening to the northbound off-slip, possibly a change in alignment. However, the work will be nowhere near the complete redesign of the junction that many of its users feel it needs.
Narrow lanes and 50mph speed limit have been implemented on three sections of the M6 between J13 and J15. Also, the 'upgrading to smart motorway' signs state that the new Smart Motorway will open in March 2022.
Initial works have now begun at J15, which bring a 50mph speed limit and among other things have moved traffic onto the southbound hard shoulder. This removes the deceleration lane for traffic leaving the motorway at J15 southbound and cuts the first part of the exit sliproad down to 1 lane. As J15 is already badly congested at times, this means the main southbound carriageway is frequently now also blocking up due to the queue of exiting traffic.
So far the only difference northbound is some machinery and earthmoving on the hard shoulder of the entry slip road.
Narrow lanes are now installed from Stafford Services to J15 along with shorter sections at J14 and J13 for bridge works associated with the scheme. The central reservation has nearly being removed and excavations have taken place on large sections ready to install drainage prior to the concrete barrier going in. A new off-slip is being created at the Yarnfield Lane access ready for a shift in the narrow lanes to allow access off at this point for emergency vehicles still.
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With thanks to David Peek for information on this page.