WATCH: New footage shows progress of £78 million upgrade of M6 at Junction 10

New footage has revealed the progress being made on a £78 million upgrade of a busy motorway junction in the Black Country.

Bridges are starting to take shape which will double the number of lanes over the M6 at Junction 10 to tackle congestion issues.

It will see the 50-year-old structures replaced and lanes increased from two to four on the route between Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Highways England project manager David Reed said: "Despite the challenges of the last year we have continued to make good progress on the scheme and we are still on track to finish the work in spring 2022.

"We know how important these improvements are for drivers, businesses and the local communities who have been enduring severe congestion at Junction 10.

"We are pleased with the progress being made on this much-needed solution to their problems.

Work can be seen to the left of the existing bridge on the abutments for the new, wider bridge at Junction 10

"The new, larger junction will increase capacity, meaning drivers can enjoy more reliable and smoother journeys. And by replacing these bridges – which have been in place for half a century - we are also avoiding the need for extensive maintenance in the near future."

Foundations for the new bridges are complete – with work now starting on building the abutments either side of the busy junction.

The first of the bridge beams is expected to be put in place in the spring. This will see specialist 1,000-ton mobile cranes brought on site to lift the beams into place.

The work on the junction is a joint venture between Highways England and Walsall Council, supported by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership. Contractor John Sisk & Son is carrying out the work.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: "It is brilliant to see how work is progressing on overhauling Junction 10 despite the challenges the pandemic has presented, with the ongoing work helping to both create and protect local jobs for local people.

In the bottom left corner of this image, the new third lane has been constructed on the Black Country Route westbound carriageway.

"My attitude throughout the pandemic has always been that we cannot have our major schemes knocked off course, and it is brilliant to see Highways England pressing on and delivering the improvements the junction needs to ease congestion for drivers and drive economic growth."

Councillor Adrian Andrew, deputy leader of Walsall Council, said: "It’s heartening to see so much progress being made on this vital junction. The increased capacity the scheme will provide will be an important factor in easing congestion and supporting the economy of Walsall.”

As well as work on the junction itself, the westbound carriageway of the busy Black Country Route has been widened from two to three lanes from Junction 10 to Marshlands Way. Final works are being carried out before the extra lane is opened to traffic.

The congestion at Junction 10 was identified as one of the main transport issues facing the region in the West Midlands Strategic Transport Plan.

Tom Westley DL, chairman of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, said the LEP was "delighted" with the progress being made on the project.

He said: "The improvements to Junction 10 will not only support the movement of traffic but bring benefits to the road network, and business, for future years. Reducing delays and increasing capacity will support the Black Country’s continued economic development, particularly as we focus on economic recovery post pandemic.”

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