M6 Toll

Unique among the UK's newest motorways, the M6 Toll is a northern bypass for Birmingham and the West Midlands conurbation, and as its name suggests, it's a toll road.

It opened to traffic in 2003, making it one of the UK's last entirely new motorway routes. It was designed to relieve the choked M6 through Birmingham, Walsall and Wolverhampton, which is not only operating beyond its intended capacity, but also carried on a number of elevated viaducts which are impossible to widen.

This route was first proposed in 1980, and featured in the Roads for Prosperity report, but was shelved in early 1990s spending cuts. So how did it get built if it was shelved so long ago, and when many more recent road schemes were cancelled in 1996?

Easy. This is the first motorway to charge a direct toll to road users - not for a bridge, or a tunnel, just to use the road itself. Since the M4 and M48 across the River Severn had their bridge tolls lifted, it has become the only tolled motorway in the UK.

Midland Expressway Ltd., the consortium that won the contract to build and run it in 1991, have been through a number of buyouts and restructuring exercises in an effort to make this commercial project viable, not least because the motorway does not carry the volume of traffic that was once anticipated. A quick glance at traffic figures on the M6 Toll and on the original M6 would seem to suggest that it's barely doing its job at all, and that the relief it provides is minimal.

The reality is never quite so simple, though. End-to-end traffic surveys indicate that it's actually carrying a reasonable proportion of the traffic that is going all the way from M6 junction 3A, where the toll road starts, to junction 11A where it ends. The issue is simply that most traffic on the M6 between those points is either starting or ending its journey somewhere in the West Midlands, and for those journeys the M6 Toll is no use.

Even so, the toll charges are carefully calibrated to make the most of the limited number of potential users. The structure of charges suggests that private cars are welcome but heavy goods traffic is strongly discouraged, and that's likely to be so that the road takes as little physical wear as possible, reducing running costs and maximising profit.

If the road were free, it might attract a bigger share of journeys with no business in Birmingham, but for now that remains pure speculation. The road will remain in private hands until the 50-year contract comes to an end in 2053. Whether it will then become free to use, or whether another toll franchise will be set up to replace it, only time will tell.

Tolls

Enquiries about toll charges

This is NOT the M6 Toll official website. Please direct all enquiries about the tolls to Midland Expressway Ltd.

Vehicle class Mon-Fri
07:00-19:00
Mon-Fri
05:00-07:00
19:00-23:00
Sat-Sun
05:00-23:00
23:00-06:00
Motorbike £3.40 £3.30 £3.30 £2.30
Car £7.10 £6.90 £6.50 £4.60
Car + trailer £10.90 £10.80 £9.80 £7.40
Van, HGV, coach £12.50 £12.30 £11.10 £9.70
HGV with 6+ axles £12.90 £12.80 £11.50 £10.00

The prices above are intended as a guide only, and were correct at 20 May 2022. Please check the M6 Toll official website for up-to-date prices.

Junctions T3, T4, T5 and T6 are considered "local tolls" as vehicles using these junctions have only used part of the motorway, and tolls are reduced. Motorists using these junctions can expect to pay about £1 less.

The M6 Toll operates a discount scheme for registered users with electronic tags on their vehicles, offering reductions of up to 20% on the rates listed above depending on the package the user is signed up to.

Owners of motor homes, caravans and other similar long vehicles are warned that the tolls are calculated by the height of the vehicle at the first axle and the number of axles.

Start

Coleshill

End

Cannock

Passes

Tamworth, Lichfield, Brownhills, Cannock

Length

27 miles

Open Junctions Section
Dec 2003 Entire motorway

Exit list

Click any junction to see its full details.

Junction   Northbound               Southbound  
M6 J11A
50.4 km
The NORTH
Stafford
M6 Link



M6
NORTH
M6
N/A
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
1 mile, 3 lanes  
T8
49.6 km
Wolverhampton
Telford (M54 Link)
A460
A460
(M54)
A4601

A460
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
2 miles, 3 lanes  
T7
46.6 km
Cannock
Great Wyrley
A5
A34

A5
A5

(A460)
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
1 mile, 3 lanes  
45.2 km Toll Station (Westbound)
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes Signs
2 miles, 3 lanes 6 miles, 3 lanes
43.1 km Services Norton Canes Services Norton Canes
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
2 miles, 3 lanes 2 miles, 3 lanes
T6
40.1 km
Brownhills
Burntwood
A5195
A5195

A5195
Brownhills
Burntwood
A5195
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
6 miles, 3 lanes 4 miles, 3 lanes
T5
33.3 km




A5127
A5

A5127

A5148

A5
Lichfield
Burton on Trent
A5148 Link
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
  2 miles, 3 lanes
T4
31.5 km
Lichfield
Burton on Trent
A38
(A5)
(A38)
Tamworth
A5
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
7 miles, 3 lanes 1 miles, 3 lanes
29.5 km Toll Station (Eastbound)
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes Signs
  6 miles, 3 lanes
T3
22.8 km
Tamworth
Sutton Coldfield
A38


A38
A38


Tamworth
Sutton Coldfield
A38
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
3 miles, 3 lanes 2 miles, 3 lanes
T2
19.7 km
A446
A4091
A446
Coleshill
A446
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
   
T1
18.0 km
The NORTH
Tamworth
M42 Link
A4097



A446
M42
A4097
A446
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
2 miles, 5 lanes 1 miles, 3 lanes
M42 J8
15.0 km
(M6)
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
2 miles, 4 lanes 4 miles, 4 lanes
M42 J7A
12.4 km
M42



The SOUTH WEST
Birmingham
(S & E)
Solihull
M42 Link (M40 Link)
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
2 miles, 3 lanes 2 miles, 3 lanes
M6 J3A
9.8 km
N/A M6




M6
SOUTH
The SOUTH
Coventry
M6 Link
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanes
Routes

Picture credits

With thanks to Paul Russell (Midland Expressway Ltd.), John Gauld and Nathaniel Porter for information on this page.

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About this page

Published22 April 2017

Last updated20 May 2022