The £78 million project was supposed to be finished by now after a spring deadline was originally set.
But a series of problems scuppered those plans, such as staff and material shortages – caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. And it has been revealed today how the manufacturing of two new bridges was delayed due to Darlington-based Cleveland Bridge going into administration too.
The busy junction at Walsall is undergoing a transformation, with bridges demolished and new, wider ones installed, as well as extra lanes added, and the slip road both Northbound and Southbound widened. It all aims to help “tackle congestion endured at the junction for many years.”
But the works have meant disruption drivers who have faced over two-and-a-half years of delays with overnight closures currently running until August 13. National Highways project manager, Rumbi Dzikiti, said: “Our work programme has been affected by factors out of our control.
“It is going to continue longer than anticipated.”
National Highways also added that “work on the scheme is now due to be completed in autumn.” Despite the sub-contractor problems both of the new two new bridges are now in use following the demolition of the 50-year-old bridges in May, with the new structures having four lanes instead of two.
Councillor Bird said: “The delay has only been a few months, so I think that the contractor deserves a pat on the back rather than a kick in the teeth.
“Luckily the company managed to manufacture the bridges for us and then they went into administration.
“So yes, a short delay but it will be a huge benefit for the future.
"It truly is a fantastic achievement to get this project done, and they (the contractor) were actually well in advance of completing it but due to Covid, it caused delays to the supply chain of materials, but having said that, I'll be glad to see it finished but not to see the back of the contractor, but because it is going to be fantastic for the area."
Footage was released in May by National Highways showing how the work was carried out on demolishing the old bridge.
Junction 10 of the M6 is one of the busiest road network junctions in the UK as motorway traffic heading north and south pass through each day, with connections onto the M5 and M54 motorways nearby.
The project which started in January 2020 has suffered delays largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic according to National Highways, but with completion in Autumn drawing near, the end is near for the huge transformation which has been supported by Walsall Council, and the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, with contractor John Sisk & Son carrying out the work on the £78 million project.
Congestion and and large queues are often a familiar site around the M6 Junction 10 and surrounding roads, including the Black Country Route leading to the junction which has been widened.
National Highways says the work will reduce congestion on motorway slip roads, the A454 Black Country Route/Wolverhampton Road and other roads linking to the junction, as well as cut down on 'rat-running' traffic on other routes.