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M6 Toll
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M6 Toll

The M6 Toll (previously called the Birmingham North Relief Road, or BNRR) is England's first toll-paying motorway. Designed to alleviate the increasing congestion on the M6 through Birmingham and the Black Country, it connects M6 Junction 4 at the NEC to M6 Junction 11A at Wolverhampton with 27 miles of three-lane motorway. The M6 currently carries 180,000 vehicles per day when it was designed to carry only 72,000. The new M6 Toll road is touted by its operator as saving up to 45 minutes journey time over the old road.

A consortium of major contractors Carillion, Alfred McAlpine, Balfour Beatty and AMEC (together known as CAMBBA) began construction in Mid-2002. The road opened for business in the week beginning December 7 2003. Once fully opened, control of the road's operation was transferred to the private sector company Midland Expressway Ltd (MEL). MEL has been granted a 53 year licence to collect tolls on the road, expiring in 2057.

Environmental campaigners have been opposed from its inception to its opening. Whilst the road was being built some advocates of direct action dug tunnels in the path of the road in order to frustrate and delay the work. Most notable of the campaigners was Swampy who went on to be a minor celebrity in the United Kingdom. On the first day of opening of the road less radical opponents voiced their opposition. Friends of the Earth claimed that the road will not relieve much traffic from the West Midlands conurbation as most users using the M6 in that area began or ended their journeys within the conurbation and so the M6 Toll would offer no advantage to them. He said that although the £900m cost of the road had been borne by private companies, the money should have been spent on public transport [1].

Conversely, business leaders in Staffordshire, now effectively closer to London, welcomed the opening of the road, saying that it would make it easier to do business there [1].

Features

The M6 Toll has only a few junctions with limited access, to discourage local traffic from using the new bypass. Unlike modern toll roads in continental Europe, the M6 Toll uses toll plazas.

The Motorway's only Service Area is situated at Norton Canes, between junctions T5 and T6. Opened on 9 March 2004, it claimed to be the best service area on Britain's motorway network, featuring table service in the restaurant during evenings and free screen washes in the petrol station during quiet periods.

As of the road's opening, tolls were £1 for motorcycles, £2 for cars, £5 for vans and £10 for lorries, each due to rise by £1 after the first ten million vehicles. A lower price is available during off-peak hours (23:00 - 06:00) as well as at the Langley Mill tolls for Northbound exit and Southbound entry to the motorway.

On 10 January 2004, just 5 weeks after opening, a short section of the road near Sutton Coldfield was reduced to one lane to allow for repairs to an uneven surface. On 19 January work also began on a separate stretch near Langley Mill, to deal with heavy rainwater failing to drain away.

On 23 July 2004, the toll for HGVs was reduced from £10 to £6 due to the low numbers of lorries using the new motorway. It was also announced that the opening period of reduced prices would end some time in August, with prices to rise by £ as previously announced.

Junctions

The towns, cities and roads listed are those given on road signs on the motorway as the junction is approached.

Junctions and Tolls on the M6 Toll motorway
No. Northbound Tolls Southbound Tolls
Southern end Join from northbound M42 J7a or M6 J4 None Merge into southbound M42 J7a or M6 J4 None
T1 Entry from A4097 Curdworth None Exit to M42 None
T2 No entry or exit None Exit to A446 and The Belfry None
T3 Langley Mill A38 Exit A38 Entry
Weeford Park Toll
T4 Weeford A38, A5 Exit A38, A5 Exit
T5 Wall Entry from A5 None Exit to A38 Exit
T6 Brownhills A5 Exit A5 Exit
Great Wyrley Toll
T7 Churchbridge Exit to A5, A34, Cannock, Walsall None Entry from Cannock None
T8 Wedges Mills Exit to A460, Wolverhampton None Entry from A460, Wolverhampton None
Northern End Merge with M6 J11a northbound None Join from M6 J11A southbound None

See also: List of motorways in the United Kingdom

External links