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M6

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M6
M6.png
Cameraicon.png View gallery (718)
From:Catthorpe, Leicestershire (SP560788)
To:Gretna Green, Dumfriesshire (NY331669)
Length:236 miles (379.8 km)
Meets: M1, M5, M42, M54, M55, M56, M58, M61, M62, M69, A38(M), A601(M), A74(M)
Former Number(s):A74
Primary Destinations
Birmingham International Airport
Highway Authorities

Highways Agency

Traditional Counties

Cheshire • Cumberland • Lancashire • Leicestershire • Staffordshire • Warwickshire • Westmorland

Route outline (key)
M6 Catthorpe – Gretna
Junction List
Junc Northbound Southbound
M1 J19 Start of Road M1, A14
1 A426 A426
Services symbol.gif Rugby services
Services symbol.gif Stretton-under-Fosse services
2 M69, A46, A4600, B4065 M69, A46, A4600, B4065
3 A444, B4113 A444, B4113
Services symbol.gif Corley services
- B4098 B4098
3A M6 Toll, M42 (N) No Exit
4 M42 (S), A446 A446
4A No Exit M42
5 A452 No Exit
6 A38(M), A38
A5127
A38(M), A38, A5127
- A453 A453
Services symbol.gif Perry Barr services
7 A34 A34
8 M5 M5
9 A461 A461
10 A454, B4464 A454, B4464
Services symbol.gif Essington services
10A M54 No Exit
Services symbol.gif Hilton Park services
11 A460, A462 A460, A462
11A No Exit M6 Toll
12 A5 A5
13 A449 A449
14 A34, A5013 A34, A5013
Services symbol.gif Doxey services
Services symbol.gif Stafford (South) services
Services symbol.gif Stafford (North) services
15 A500 A500
Services symbol.gif Keele services
16 A500, B5078 A500, B5078
Services symbol.gif Sandbach services
17 A534 A534
18 A54 A54
Services symbol.gif Knutsford services
- A5033 No Exit
19 A556 A556
20 M56, A50, B5158 M56, A50, B5158
Services symbol.gif Lymm services (at J20)
21 A57, B5210 A57, B5210
Services symbol.gif Woolston services
21A M62 M62
22 A49, A579 A49, A579
Services symbol.gif Winwick and Haydock Park services
23 A49, A580 A49, A580
24 No Exit A58
25 A49 No Exit
26 M58, A577 M58, A577
27 A5209 A5209
Services symbol.gif Charnock Richard services
28 B5256 B5256
29 M65, A6 M65, A6
30 No Exit M61
31 A59 A59
31A B6242 No Exit
32 M55 M55
Services symbol.gif Lancaster services
33 A6 A6
34 A683 A683
35 A601(M) A601(M)
Services symbol.gif Burton-in-Kendal services
(Northbound only)
36 A65, A590 A65, A590
Services symbol.gif Killington Lake services
(Southbound only)
37 A684 A684
38 A685, B6260 A685, B6260
Services symbol.gif Tebay services
39 B6261 B6261
Services symbol.gif Melkinthorpe services
40 A66, A592 A66, A592
41 B5305 B5305
Services symbol.gif Southwaite services
42 A6, B6263 A6, B6263
43 A69 A69
44 A7, A689 A7, A689
Services symbol.gif Todhills rest area
45 A74(M), A6071
B7076
Start of Road
This article is about the motorway in Great Britain.
For the motorway in the Republic of Ireland, see M6 (Republic of Ireland)
.
For the unbuilt motorway in Northern Ireland, see M6 (Northern Ireland).
Globe.png
For detailed information about this topic, see CBRD Motorway Database

The M6 is the longest and probably the most important motorway in the UK. It links traffic from London with Coventry, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and then Scotland, before the A74(M) takes traffic up to Glasgow.

There are several busy stretches of the M6, most notably the section from junction 8 to 11 near Wolverhampton. The main reason for this northbound is that nearly all traffic from the M5 unloads itself onto an already busy M6 without any lane gains. This often results in long queues on the M5 at peak times, sometimes as far back as junction 2. Southbound, the M54 does exactly the same, except that all of its traffic heading past junction 1 to the M6 must head south, clogging up the same area.

The M6 Toll was built to bypass the M6 through the West Midlands conurbation but it has not been a huge success both because people refuse to pay the toll charges, and also because of its poor connectivity to M5 and M54. This means that the M6 from junction 3a to 11a is still a big bottleneck for long-distance traffic who don't want to pay the toll charges. The section through Staffordshire and Cheshire up to junction 19 (where most traffic for Manchester turns off) is also very busy and widening this section (which may or may not be tolled) has been proposed.

The A74(M) and M74 were planned to become part of the M6 when the Carlisle - Glasgow route was finished. Several signs pointing to the A74(M) have patches saying 'A74(M)' on them that would be removed to reveal 'M6' underneath. When the Cumberland Gap was finished in 2008, the Scottish Government decided not to enact the renumbering. For more see M74 and A74(M) History.

Contents

Junctions

Catthorpe Interchange

Catthorpe.gif

Main Article: Catthorpe Interchange

The Catthorpe Interchange is the meeting point of the M1, the M6 and A14 as well as an unclassified road. It was reconstructed to allow for the A14 with a low budget, resulting in an entire motorway's traffic funneling into one lane, resulting in a notorious bottleneck.

Gravelly Hill

Gravelly Hill.gif

Main Article: Gravelly Hill

The famous Spaghetti Junction, Gravelly Hill provides the interchange between the M6, A38(M), A38, A5127 and an unclassified road. It does this by means of a complex array of slip roads and a roundabout. All movements are possible except between the unclassified road and the A38(M), and between the A38(M) and the southbound A5127.

Samlesbury Interchange

Salmesbury Interchange.PNG

Main Article: Samlesbury Interchange

Samlesbury Interchange, informally referred to as the Tickled Trout by locals, has the honour of being the UK's first grade separated motorway junction, opened in December 1958. Originally opened as a partial cloverleaf interchange with two roundabouts to avoid extra bridges over the River Ribble, it was completely rebuilt between 1993-95 when the M6 was improved between junctions 30 and 32.

Services

Hilton Park services

Hilton Park Services - Northbound side - Geograph - 905202.jpg

Main Article: Hilton Park services

Hilton Park services are located between junctions 10a and 11 near Wolverhampton. They are one of the busiest services on M6, and have a distinctive tower on the northbound side. Its future is, however, under threat as one of the options for a future M54 - M6 Toll Link Road involves the removal of the services.

Lancaster services

Hello Moto - Geograph - 695630.jpg

Main Article: Lancaster services

Lancaster services, also known as Lancaster (Forton) or just Forton is probably one of the most distinctive on the British motorway network. The tower at Forton was the inspiration for the similar, smaller tower at Hilton Park, though in both cases the tower is no longer used for a restaurant.

Todhills rest area

Coffee place car park.jpg

Main Article: Todhills rest area

Todhills is the first of a the new, smaller rest area services, although Sedgemoor services opened as Brent Knoll Rest Area in the 1970s. It is basically a petrol station with a small separate restaurant, and originally opened on the A74.

Structures

Thelwall Viaduct

Thelwall Viaduct.jpg

Main Article: Thelwall Viaduct

Thelwall Viaduct carries the M6 over the Manchester Ship Canal near Warrington. It originally opened in 1963 as part of the Warrington to Preston section of the motorway. Major improvement works were required in the early 1990s, and a second viaduct was constructed alongside the original.

Mossband Viaduct

Mossband Viaduct road view 2004.jpg

Main Article: Mossband Viaduct

Mossband Viaduct carries the M6 over the West Coast Main Line in Cumberland. The original viaduct was on the A74, and was replaced by the new structure as part of the Cumberland Gap works in 2008.

History

See M6-1972 for a strip map of the M6 upon full opening in 1972.

The earliest section of the M6 to be opened was the Preston Bypass (junctions 29 - 32), which opened in December 1958 and is the oldest stretch of motorway in Britain. It was followed by bypasses for Lancaster (April 1960) and Stafford (1962). By July 1963, the Stafford bypass had been linked to the Preston bypass, and the whole section was linked up to the Lancaster bypass by January 1965.

Extensions to the north and south followed so that by 1972 the motorway was continuous from the M1 at Catthorpe to junction 44 at Carlisle. Things remained this way for many years, although sections were widened to accommodate increasing volumes of traffic. The Preston bypass, which opened as dual two-lane motorway with soft shoulders, gained hard shoulders and a third lane each way in the early 1960s, and a fourth lane each way in the early 90s. The Thelwall Viaduct section was also widened to dual 4 lanes in the 1990s by the construction of a second parallel viaduct.

In December 2008, 50 years to the day after the first section of M6 opened, the M6 was extended north to meet the A74(M) at Gretna, thus creating a continuous motorway route from the Channel Tunnel to Cumbernauld (following the M20, M26, M25, M40, M42, M6, A74(M), M74, M73. The M80 completion in 2011 will extend this route further north to Dunblane.)

Streetlighting

Jcts Lit Type Notes
M1-J2 No Conventional SON Lit around Catthorpe Interchange complex
2 Yes Conventional SON Lit through entire Ansty Interchange complex
2-3A No
3A-11A Yes Conventional SON
11A-15 No
15-16 Yes Conventional SON Lit for 2 miles either side of Keele Services only
16-20 No
20-32 Yes Mix of conventional SOX and SON Some sections switch off between midnight-5am
32-45 No Some disused lighting at emergency crossovers

Opening Dates

For detailed information about this section, see CBRD Motorway Database: M6 Timeline

Photos

Links

CBRD

Roads UK

Motorway Services Online

Route 6

New Civil Engineer

You Tube

Traffic England

Junction 8 Traffic Camera



M6
JunctionsAbington Interchange • Ansty Interchange • Bamber Bridge Interchange • Barthomley Interchange • Beattock Interchange • Bentley Interchange • Blacow Bridge • Broughton Interchange (Preston) • Bryn Interchange • Cambuslang Road Junction • Canderside Toll • Carmyle Avenue Interchange • Castle Bromwich Interchange • Catterlen Interchange • Catthorpe Interchange • Coleshill Interchange • Crawford and Elvanfoot Interchanges • Creswell Interchange • Croft Interchange • Crooklands Interchange • Daldowie Interchange • Dunston Interchange (Stafford) • Eaglesfield Interchange • Ecclefechan Interchange • Essington Interchange • Exhall Interchange • Fullarton Road Interchange • Gailey Interchange • Golden Fleece Interchange • Gravelly Hill • Great Barr Interchange • Gretna Interchange • Guards Mill Interchange • Haighton Interchange • Hamilton Interchange • Hampson Green Roundabout • Hanchurch Interchange • Haydock Island • Johnstonebridge Interchange • Kingston Junction • Kingstown Interchange • Kirkpatrick Fleming Interchange • Laney Green Interchange • Larkhall Interchange • Leyland Interchange • Lockerbie North Interchange • Lockerbie South Interchange • Lune Valley Interchange • Lymm Interchange • M6 J1 • M6 J14A (M6 Toll) • M6 J14A (M64) • M6 J15A • M6 J16A • M6 J17 • M6 J18 • M6 J24 • M6 J27 • M6 J35 • M6 J37 • M74 J9 • Maryville Interchange • Millbank Interchange • Orrell Interchange • Polmadie Road Junction • Poniel Interchange • Prospect Hill Interchange • Raith Interchange • Ray Hall • Rosehill Interchange • Samlesbury Interchange • Saredon Interchange • Shap Interchange • Skirsgill Interchange • Tabley Interchange • Tebay Interchange • Water Orton Interchange • Wednesbury Interchange • Wellburn Interchange • Winwick Interchange • Woolston Interchange
ServicesClifton services • Corley services • Doxey services • Harborough Magna services • Haydock Park services • Hilton Park services • Keele services • Melkinthorpe services • Perry Barr services • Rugby services • Stafford (North) services • Swinford services • Winwick services • Woolston services
CrossingsCarlisle Bypass Viaduct • Lune Bridge • Metal Bridge • Mossband Viaduct • Salmesbury Bridge • Thelwall Viaduct
ProjectsPreston Bypass
RoadsCumberland Gap • E05 • E18 • E22 • E24 • E28 • E31 (via Carlisle) • E33 (London - Glasgow) • E33 (Northampton - Liverpool)
MiscellaneousM54 to M6 Toll Link
Related Pictures
View gallery (718)
Looking south on the M6 - Geograph - 945293.jpgM6 Cheshire - Coppermine - 21040.jpgM6 Motorway, near Carnforth - Geograph - 13984.jpgM6 Sign 1B - Coppermine - 2631.JPGM6 South of Bognop Road - Geograph - 1681142.jpg
Other nearby roads
CoventryA4023 • A4053 • A4082 • A4114 • A4170 • A423 • A427 • A4273 • A428 • A429 • A444 • A445 • A45 • A46 • A4600 • B4027 (Warwickshire) • B4076 • B4082 (Coventry) • B4098 • B4101 • B4105 (Coventry) • B4106 • B4107 • B4107 (Coventry city centre) • B4108 • B4109 • B4110 • B4111 (Coventry - Kilworth) • B4113 • B4115 • B4464 (Coventry) • B4481 • B4544 • Coventry North-South Motorway • Droitwich - Leicester Motorway • E24 • E28 • E33 (London - Glasgow) • E33 (Northampton - Liverpool) • Holyhead Road • M45 • M69 • Northern and Western Motorway • T11 (Britain) • T114 (Britain) • T44 (Britain)
BirminghamA34 • A38 • A38(M) • A4027 • A4028 • A4029 • A4030 • A4040 • A4097 • A41 • A41/Solihull - West Bromwich • A4123 • A4166 • A4167 • A42 (Reading - Birmingham) • A435 • A4400 • A441 • A45 • A452 • A453 • A4540 • A455 (Birmingham - Stafford) • A456 • A457 • A458 • A47 • A4723 • A5127 • B38 (Selly Oak) • B384 • B4025 • B4043 • B4096 • B4100 (Birmingham) • B4114 • B4118 • B4120 • B4121 • B4122 (Birmingham) • B4123 • B4124 • B4125 • B4127 • B4128 • B4128 (Suffolk Street, Birmingham) • B4129 • B4129 (Birmingham City Centre) • B4130 • B4131 • B4132 • B4133 • B4134 • B4135 • B4136 • B4137 • B4140 • B4141 (Birmingham) • B4142 • B4143 (Birmingham) • B4144 • B4145 • B4146 • B4147 • B4148 • B4167 • B4182 • B4217 • B4284 • B4498 • B4514 • B4515 • B4516 • B4531 • B4532 • B4533 • B4552 • B4730 • E05 • E116 (Old System) • E24 • E28 • E33 (London - Glasgow) • Holyhead Road • Longest Lane • M40 • M42 • M5 • M600 • Northern and Western Motorway • Ryknild Street • T13 (Britain) • T14 (Britain) • T15 (Britain) • T16 (Britain) • T35 (Britain) • T53 (Britain)
WolverhamptonA4038 • A4039 • A4098 • A41 • A41/West Bromwich - Tong • A4123 • A4124 • A4126 • A4150 • A4444 • A446(M) • A449 • A4510 • A454 • A457 • A459 • A460 • A462 • A463 • A464 • A464 (Oaken - Nantwich) • B4155 • B4156 • B4157 • B4158 (Wolverhampton) • B4159 • B4160 (Wolverhampton) • B4161 • B4162 • B4162 (Monmore Green - Deepfields) • B4163 • B4164 (Moxley - Ocker Hill) • B4454 • B4464 • B4483 • B4484 • B4563 • B4590 • Bilston Link Motorway • E33 (London - Glasgow) • E34 (Old System) • Holyhead Road • M54 • NCN81 • Northern and Western Motorway • T11 (Britain) • T14 (Britain) • T49 (Britain) • T50 (Britain) • U99 (Wolverhampton) • Western Orbital
Stoke-on-TrentA34 • A50 • A500 • A5005 • A5006 • A5007 • A5008 • A5009 • A5010 • A5011 • A5035 • A52 • A520 • A521 • A524 (Ashbourne - Stoke-on-Trent) • A527 • A5271 (Stoke) • A5272 • B5029 • B5037 • B5038 • B5039 • B5041 • B5042 • B5045 • B5046 • B5047 • B5048 • B5049 • B5050 • B5051 • B5052 • B5066 • B5490 • B5999 • E05 • E33 (London - Glasgow) • M6 Toll • M64 (Trentham - Long Whatton) • T54 (Britain) • T56 (Britain)
PrestonA49 • A5071 • A5072 • A5085 • A5188 • A582 • A583 • A59 • A6 • A6/Manchester - Preston • A6/Preston - Lancaster • A6063 • A6063 (Mellor Brook) • A675 • B5254 • B5258 (Preston) • B5264 • B5411 • B6230 • B6241 • B6241 (Deepdale Road, Preston) • B6242 • B6243 • Belmont Link Motorway • C220 (Lancashire) • C221 (Lancashire) • C223 (Lancashire) • C225 (Lancashire) • C226 (Lancashire) • C227 (Lancashire) • C228 (Lancashire) • C240 (Lancashire) • C245 (Lancashire) • C246 (Lancashire) • C247 (Lancashire) • C281 (Lancashire) • C328 (Lancashire) • C329 (Lancashire) • C330 (Lancashire) • C331 (Lancashire) • C332 (Lancashire) • C333 (Lancashire) • C334 (Lancashire) • C335 (Lancashire) • C336 (Lancashire) • C337 (Lancashire) • C338 (Lancashire) • C340 (Lancashire) • C344 (Lancashire) • C345 (Lancashire) • C346 (Lancashire) • C347 (Lancashire) • C348 (Lancashire) • C349 (Lancashire) • C350 (Lancashire) • C351 (Lancashire) • C352 (Lancashire) • C353 (Lancashire) • C354 (Lancashire) • C355 (Lancashire) • C356 (Lancashire) • C357 (Lancashire) • C358 (Lancashire) • E05 • E33 (London - Glasgow) • M55 • M58 (Preston) • M59 • M61 • M65 • NCN55 • T12 (Britain) • T13 (Britain) • T20 (Britain) • T67 (Britain) • Walton Summit Motorway
Motorways in Great Britain
Current MotorwaysM1 • M2 • M3 • M4 • M5 • M6 • M6 Toll • M8 • M9 • M11 • M18 • M20 • M23 • M25 • M26 • M27 • M32 • M40 • M42 • M45 • M48 • M49 • M50 • M53 • M54 • M55 • M56 • M57 • M58 • M60 • M61 • M62 • M65 • M66 • M67 • M69 • M73 • M74 • M77 • M80 • M90 • M180 • M181 • M271 • M275 • M602 • M606 • M621 • M876 • M898
A1(M) • A3(M) • A14(M) • A38(M) • A48(M) • A57(M) • A58(M) • A64(M) • A66(M) • A74(M) • A92(M) • A167(M) • A168(M) • A194(M) • A195(M) • A308(M) • A329(M) • A404(M) • A601(M) • A627(M) • A635(M) • A666(M) • A823(M) • A1058(M)
Motorway Spurs • (M4 Heathrow Spur • M25 T5 Spur • Walton Summit M'way)
Former MotorwaysM10 • M15 • M16 • M30 • M41 • M52 • M62 • M63 • M64 • M65 • M68 • M85 • M110 • M111 • M270 • M274 • M531 • M600
A2(M) • A4(M) • A5(M) • A8(M) • A11(M) • A18(M) • A20(M) • A21(M) • A23(M) • A36(M) • A40(M) (Central London) • A40(M) (Buckinghamshire) • A41(M) • A46(M) • A48(M) (Morriston) • A48(M) (Port Talbot) • A65(M) • A102(M) (North) • A102(M) (South) • A423(M) • A446(M) • A604(M) • A638(M) • A696(M) • A1231(M) • A6127(M) • A6138(M) • A6144(M)
Unbuilt MotorwaysM4 Toll • M12 (Woodford - Brentford) • M12 (Woodford - Maplin) • M12 (Brentwood - -Chelmsford) • M13 • M17 • M19 • M31 • M58 • M59 • M60 • M62 RR • M64 • M81 • M82 • M83 • M100 • M272 • M601 • M650
A2(M) • A6(M) (West) • A6(M) (East) • A48(M) • A59(M) • A61(M) • A556(M) • A695(M)
A Ring • Bilston Link • Belmont Link • B-W M'way • CME Bypass • CMW • Central Spine • Chippenham Spur • Coventry N-S M'way • Denham Spur • Derby Urban M'way • Droitwich-Leicester M'way • East Coast M'way • EXR • East Kilbride M'way • E-W Underground M'way • Eastern M'way • Euroroute • Friars Goose Xing • Furness Link • Glasgow IRR • GM Western Relief Road • Hamilton-Cumbernauld M'way • Hook Road • Johnstone M'way • Kendal Link • Liverpool Inner M'way • LOX M'way • Malvern Radial • Manchester IRR • Morecambe Link • NE Urban M'way • NXR • N&W M'way • Paisley-Hamilton M'way • POLO • Princess P'way M'way • Reading Urban M'way • Ringway 2 • Sheffield Spur • S Bristol Spur • SCRPDR • SXR • Stirling Corner Link • Strensham-Solihill M'way • Strensham-Solihill M'way • TGAAR • Townhill Link • Trafford Park M'way • Warndon Radial • Watford Urban M'Way • Western Orbital • Weston Spur