Key M6 junction to be shut for weekend as giant bridge beams lifted into place

A short stretch of the M6 will be shut for an entire weekend as giant bridge beams are lifted into place as part of a project to improve traffic flow through the Black Country.

The beams being lifted into place. Photo: Highways England
The beams being lifted into place. Photo: Highways England

Two new bridges are being built at Junction 10 of the motorway in Walsall, replacing the 50-year-old bridge currently in place and doubling the number of lanes around the junction from two to four.

The 44m-long steel beams will be installed by 50m-tall cranes as part of a £78 million upgrade project

A team of around 50 workers will be involved as the beams, each weighing 130 tonnes, are delivered as an abnormal load to the site and lifted into place on the north bridge over the weekend of July 2 to 5.

Both carriageways of the motorway will be closed while the work takes place.

How J10 will look once work is complete. Photo: Highways England

There will be an up and over diversion for traffic which will leave the motorway at Junction 10, travel over the roundabout and then rejoin the M6 on the other side. The closures will take place from 8pm on Friday, July 2, until 6am on Monday, July 5.

The beams for the south bridge will be lifted into place later in the summer and will also require the M6 to be closed. The old bridges will be demolished later in the scheme.

Highways England project manager David Reed said: "The improvements to this junction will tackle the congestion that drivers, businesses and the local communities have been encountering for a long time.

"The beam lift is a huge milestone in the construction of the new bridges but we appreciate that any road closures can be frustrating for people."

Councillor Adrian Andrew, the deputy leader of Walsall Council, said: “This is an important milestone in this much-needed project. It’s encouraging to see progress being made and I’m sure we’ll all feel the benefit when the work is completed.”

During the closure, a newly-introduced innovation – an inflatable safety barrier – will be used to help ensure the safety of road workers. The new airbag is being trialled in the Midlands in a bid to reduce the number of motorists that mistakenly drive into work areas, putting the drivers and road workers at risk.

Highways England and Walsall Council, supported by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, have joined forces to fund the upgrade. Contractor John Sisk & Son is carrying out the work.

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