M6 J16-19 Smart Motorway

Scheme outline

Upgrade of the M6 to Smart Motorway between junctions 16 and 19, in order to create a smoother flow of traffic and thus reduce congestion.

As well as variable speed limits, this is a full conversion to All-Lane-Running (turning the hard shoulder into a permanent fourth running lane) with only Emergency Refuge Areas provided instead.

This scheme replaces the earlier M6 J13-19 Smart Motorway scheme, which was withdrawn in 2014.

Works will initially be at the northern end of the scheme, before spreading south.

This scheme is part of the Smart Motorways programme of works.

December 2015-March 2018
Under construction
Other upgrade
under motorway restrictions
Highway authority
Central Government


What's happening on this scheme? You can add a progress update if you know more. Add a progress update
5 November 2015

According to Highways England, initial survey work has now started, with some overnight lane closures planned during November. Major works (and associated temporary speed limits) are not expected until 2016.

6 November 2015

Work site under construction off the A5022 before Brindley Green Farm.

2 December 2015

"Average Speed Check" cameras have now been installed next to the road, in preparation for the main works starting. National Speed Limit is still in place and cameras are not yet in use as work has not yet started.

24 December 2015

A 50mph speed limit is now in force north of Knutsford services, as initial works appear to be underway.

17 February 2016

The main phase of construction is scheduled to start on 26 February 2016, it was announced today. The first section to be tackled is an 8-mile stretch between J18 and Knutsford Services.

8 September 2016

Initial works, narrow lanes and the 50mph speed limit have now spread as far south as J17. Much of the permanent central barrier has now been totally removed between J18 and J19.

20 April 2017

Work to replace the central barrier with a concrete version (and associated resurfacing work) is now complete between J17 and J19. Work on this northern section has now moved to the hard shoulder, where redundant matrix signs are being removed and Emergency Refuge Areas are now in varying stages of construction. Between J17 and J16 the old central barrier has now been totally removed and work to install the new concrete one continues.

31 August 2017

Central barrier replacement is now largely complete between J16 and J17. A series of overnight closures are happening to move traffic lanes away from the hard shoulder so work can begin on the nearside.

2 November 2017

Aside from northbound through J16 (where the hard shoulder is still in use as a running lane), all traffic is now running as close as possible to the central barrier. Between J19 and J17 several emergency laybys are in various stages of construction. The M6 is due to close southbound overnight from J16 to J15 next week - it's unclear if this is related to the Smart Motorway works.

More information


With thanks to David Peek, Fraser Mitchell and Michael Pritchard for information on this page.