M6 delays as cable stolen by metal thieves

Drivers were today warned of eight weeks of disruptions on the M6 – as highways bosses revealed they are having to replace street light cabling stolen by metal thieves.

M6 aerial stock
The M6 through the West Midlands

Lanes will be closed during the work, which will take place along the busy stretch of the motorway between junction 10 at Walsall and 10a at Essington.

The cable has been stolen from the motorway verge meaning some of the lighting has been knocked out. Replacement work will start on Monday and is expected to take until the start of February to be fully completed.

It will impact on both the northbound and southbound carriageways of the M6 stretch, which is used by 160,000 motorists a day.

During parts of the scheme there will be night-time closures of the hard shoulder and lane one.

It will be in both directions but restricted between Monday and Friday from 8pm to 5am.

Highways Agency project sponsor Purnima Kaul said: “Once complete, street lighting will be operational again making the road safer during the hours of darkness and in poor weather conditions.

“We will aim to complete the work as quickly as possible to minimise disruption for road users. Lane closures will be necessary, however, as it will be safer for both the workers and road users while the work is carried out.

“The work is expected to cause some disruption, but we do not expect this to be significant. We have also written to local residents to advise them that there may be some increased noise levels while we carry out this work, but we will try to keep this to a minimum.”

There have been a series of metal thefts along the motorway, which is able to open up a fourth lane as part of the managed motorways system to ease congestion during peak periods. Suspected metal thieves sparked a blaze in a cable chamber near Junction 10a at Essington, knocking out the hard shoulder between West Bromwich and Walsall, in March this year.

In August, vandals were responsible for a power cut which crashed the system from junction eight, where the M6 links with the M5 towards West Bromwich, and junction nine at Wednesbury.