Drivers face misery as major motorway closed for three days next week, sending cars on 90 minute diversion

21 June 2024, 13:23 | Updated: 23 June 2024, 12:57

The M6
The M6. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

One of Britain's most important motorways is set to close for a three-day stretch next week, sending drivers on a 90-minute diversion.

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A stretch of the M6, which at 230 miles is the longest motorway in the country, will be closed overnight from Monday, June 24 to Wednesday, June 26.

The section that will close is from Junction 23-26 southbound, affecting the area near Warrington in Cheshire, and northbound from 22-23, around the area of Newton-le-Willows on Merseyside.

The good news is that the closures will only be taking place from 9pm-6am, and the road will remain open outside of those hours.

During the hours when the road is closed, southbound drivers will be diverted onto the M58 westbound, then south via Rainsford and then east via St Helens.

Read More: All flights from two terminals at Manchester Airport cancelled as passengers urged not to travel

Smart motorways are 'anything but smart', says Nick Ferrari

That means what normally should take nine minutes could take as long as an hour and a half, according to Google. And it could get even worse if there is extra congestion from the closure.

Drivers going north will only have to make a short diversion via country lanes and onto the A580, going via the village of Lowton.

The closure is taking place as part of ongoing work to transform the road into a smart motorway - when traffic is monitored so that all lanes are kept open if possible.

Smart motorways are 'anything but smart', says Nick Ferrari

On smart motorways, the hard shoulder is kept closed only in the event of an emergency, to protect the drivers and passengers affected.

But smart motorways have proven controversial, and last year the government cancelled plans to build more of them. Ministers said at the time of the announcement that the M6 was an exception because construction was already so far along.

Transport Secretary discusses 'smart motorways' with Nick Ferrari

The campaign group Smart Motorways Kill estimated there have been over 100 deaths linked to smart motorways since 2016, with its founder Claire Mercer saying "many more" have been injured.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast that smart motorways remain some of the safest.

"Smart Motorways remain the safest roads of the strategic roads network," Mr Harper told Nick, before adding "the public don't have confidence in them."

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