Express & Star

Drivers braced for traffic chaos as M6 Junction 10 to close all weekend

Drivers have been warned to expect traffic chaos at a major roundabout in the Black Country as a junction of the M6 closes for the entire weekend.

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How the revamped junction will look.

The motorway will be shut at Junction 10 between Wolverhampton and Walsall from8pm on Friday, July 16, until 6am on Monday, July 19 as part of a huge £78 million congestion-busting revamp of the busy roundabout.

The junction is being shut off to allow 44m-long steel beams, which will form part of two new bridges, to be lifted in place.

The massive operation is part of the project to construct two bridges to replace current structures running over the motorway, increasing the road to four lanes. They will be able to carry double the amount of vehicles, helping to cut congestion and help traffic run more smoothly at the notorious bottleneck.

An 'up and over diversion' will be in place, meaning traffic will leave the M6 at Junction 10, funnelled over the roundabout to head back onto the motorway the other side of the closure.

So while vehicles will still be able to get from one side of Junction 10 to the other, huge traffic pile-ups are expected as a huge amount of vehicles make their way across the bridge, which has traffic lights and is busy at the best of times.

As a result, motorists have been urged to avoid the area. To avoid the closure, drivers can get off the M6 at nearby Junction 9 for Wednesbury or Junction 10a for the M54.

Junction 10 serves thousands of drivers every day. Traffic regularly backs up on the Black Country Route and Wolverhampton Road at peak times, and transport chiefs say the major project will help solve some of the issues faced by drivers. Work began at the junction at the start of the year.

Project manager David Reed said: "We appreciate there's never a good time to close a big junction like M6 Junction 10 but doing it over a single weekend is more preferable and much more efficient than doing it say over a series of night closures, so that's why we've chosen that option, to get the job done and also minimise the disruption.

"During the weekend closure of M6 Junction 10 we'll be shutting the M6 itself, so the diversion route is at Junction 10 itself and will involve taking traffic off the slip road over the roundabout at the top and back over the other side.

"It's quite a simple diversion route and should minimise disruption. The closure of the M6 over the weekend is likely to lead to long delays in the area so I'd encourage people who are making long distance journeys to pick another route but certainly plan their journey and avoid the area if they can.

"During the weekend closure of M6 Junction 10 the local roads will still be open. However, I'd encourage people investigate public transport options or for shorter journeys consider walking and cycling. Plan your journey please and avoid the area if at all possible."

Dan Johnson, principal engineer at Walsall Council, said: "Over the last 12 months we've made good progress with our work to improve Junction 10.

"Once complete, the improvements will help to ease congestion and improve journey time and reliability through the junction.

"As part of the improvement works we will be replacing the existing bridges, which are no longer fit for purpose due to the rise in traffic levels in recent decades.

"We'll be replacing them with two wider four-lane bridges which will increase capacity and improve journey times though this very busy junction.

"We'll be lifting steel beams for the new north bridge. This is a very complex task so we'll be using specialist cranes to do this, some of which are 50 metres in height.

"To do this work safely we need to close M6 Junction 10 for the whole weekend. We'll close the M6 in both directions between the Junction 10 entry and exit slip roads and this closure will come into force on Friday, July 16 and it will be in place until Monday, July 19.

"If you do need to travel over this weekend, please plan ahead, allow extra time for your journeys and have a safe trip."