M6 motorway

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M6 shield

M6
Gravelly Hill Interchange, best known as Spaghetti Junction, in Birmingham
Route information
Part of , , and
Maintained by Highways England
Length232.2 mi (373.7 km)
Existed1958–present
HistoryOpened: 1958
Completed: 2008
Major junctions
South endCatthorpe
52°24′02″N 1°10′31″W / 52.400442°N 1.175215°W / 52.400442; -1.175215 (M6, southern terminus)
 UK-Motorway-M1.svg
M1 motorway
Junction 2.svg UK-Motorway-M69.svg
J2 → M69 motorway
Junction 3a.svg UK-Motorway-M6 Toll.svg
J3a → M6 Toll
Junction 4.svg UK-Motorway-M42.svg
J4 → M42 motorway
Junction 4a.svg UK-Motorway-M42.svg
J4a → M42 motorway
Junction 6.svg UK-Motorway-A38 (M).svg
J6 → A38(M) motorway
Junction 8.svg UK-Motorway-M5.svg
J8 → M5 motorway
Junction 10a.svg UK-Motorway-M54.svg
J10a → M54 motorway
Junction 11a.svg UK-Motorway-M6 Toll.svg
J11a → M6 Toll
Junction 20.svg UK-Motorway-M56.svg
J20 → M56 motorway
Junction 21a.svg UK-Motorway-M62.svg
J21a → M62 motorway
Junction 26.svg UK-Motorway-M58.svg
J26 → M58 motorway
Junction 29.svg UK-Motorway-M65.svg
J29 → M65 motorway
Junction 30.svg UK-Motorway-M61.svg
J30 → M61 motorway
Junction 32.svg UK-Motorway-M55.svg
J32 → M55 motorway
Junction 35.svg UK-Motorway-A601 (M).svg
J35 → A601(M) motorway
Junction 45.svg UK-Motorway-A74 (M).svg
J45 → A74(M) motorway
North endGretna
54°59′48″N 3°03′19″W / 54.996672°N 3.055336°W / 54.996672; -3.055336 (M6, northern terminus)
Location
CountiesLeicestershire, Warwickshire, West Midlands, Staffordshire, Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cumbria
Primary
destinations
Rugby
Coventry
Birmingham
Walsall
Wolverhampton
Cannock
Stafford
Stoke-on-Trent
Newcastle-under-Lyme
Crewe
Warrington
Wigan
Preston
Lancaster
Kendal
Penrith
Carlisle
Road network
M5M6 Toll

The M6 is the longest motorway in the United Kingdom. It is also one of the busiest motorways in the country.[1] It is often referred to as "The Backbone of Britain". The M6 is part of the unsigned E-road E24 from the M1 to the M6 Toll near Birmingham. The E5 joins the M6 Toll from the M42 and then uses the M6 to its north end at Carlisle. Then it continues along the M74. The motorway is 230 miles (370km) long. This is 37 miles longer than the M1 motorway.

History and curiosities[change | change source]

M6 in Cheshire, 1969

The first section of the motorway was the Preston by-pass, opened on 5 December 1958. It was built by a company called Tarmac Construction. It was the first motorway in the United Kingdom. It was opened by Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. The motorway was later extended in both directions.

Junction 6 in Birmingham has the name Spaghetti Junction. This is because it looks very complex from the sky.

On the high ground between Shap and Tebay, the north and south-bound carriages split apart. Strangely, at this point a local road runs between the two carriageways without a link to the motorway.

The section of the M6 which runs over Shap Fell in Cumbria is 1050 ft (320 m) above sea level. This is one of the highest points on any motorway in the UK. The West Coast Main Line railway follows the same course. It runs alongside the M6 for much of its length.

Route[change | change source]

The motorway starts at the M1 in Rugby. It passes through Birmingham and Spaghetti Junction. The motorway continues to the north, passing Liverpool and Manchester. It goes around Preston and up to Lancaster. It then follows through a valley past the Lake District and Penrith. It finishes at Carlisle.

Cumberland Gap[change | change source]

M6 Toll collection booths

At the end of the M6 motorway at Carlisle, there is a 6-mile stretch of the A74 which links England to Scotland. This is called the Cumberland Gap. This was caused by an argument between the British Parliament and the Scottish Parliament, which left neither the M6 or the A74(M) being built. After a lot of controversy, building started on the remaining six miles. When it is completed, there will be a complete motorway going from London to Glasgow.[2]

M6 Toll[change | change source]

The M6 Toll is a toll road which was opened in 2003. It starts at Junction 11A and runs around Birmingham to Junction 3A. It is the first toll road to be built in the United Kingdom. It was opened on 9 December 2003. It is reported to save 45 minutes from the average journey.[3]

Junctions[change | change source]

M6 motorway junctions
mile km Northbound exits (A carriageway) Junction Southbound exits (B carriageway) Coordinates
Motorway continues as A74(M) towards Scotland Start of motorway 54°59′48″N 3°03′19″W / 54.996672°N 3.055336°W / 54.996672; -3.055336 (M6, northern terminus)
313.2 504.3 Gretna B7076, Longtown A6071 J45
No access (on-slip only) 54°59′35″N 3°02′54″W / 54.992979°N 3.048234°W / 54.992979; -3.048234 (M6, J45)
River Esk 54°58′29″N 3°00′33″W / 54.974768°N 3.009213°W / 54.974768; -3.009213 (M6, River Esk)
309.6
309.2
498.2
497.5
Todhills Rest Area Services Todhills Rest Area 54°57′06″N 2°58′47″W / 54.951585°N 2.979612°W / 54.951585; -2.979612 (M6, Todhills Rest Area)
307.6
307.3
495.1
494.6
Carlisle (North), Galashiels A7 J44
Carlisle A7, Workington A689 54°55′48″N 2°56′47″W / 54.930138°N 2.946332°W / 54.930138; -2.946332 (M6, J44)
River Eden 54°54′34″N 2°53′43″W / 54.909346°N 2.895290°W / 54.909346; -2.895290 (M6, River Eden)
303.8
303.5
488.9
488.4
Carlisle, Hexham, Newcastle A69 J43 Carlisle, Hexham, Newcastle A69 54°53′43″N 2°53′13″W / 54.895293°N 2.886851°W / 54.895293; -2.886851 (M6, J43)
301.1
300.7
484.6
484.0
Carlisle (South) A6 J42 Carlisle A6 54°51′27″N 2°52′42″W / 54.85759°N 2.878375°W / 54.85759; -2.878375 (M6, J42)
Southwaite services Services Southwaite services 54°47′57″N 2°52′16″W / 54.799077°N 2.871079°W / 54.799077; -2.871079 (M6, Southwaite Services)
288.7
288.4
464.6
464.1
Wigton B5305 J41 Wigton B5305 54°41′36″N 2°47′30″W / 54.69343°N 2.791729°W / 54.69343; -2.791729 (M6, J41)
285.5
285.2
459.5
459.0
Penrith, Workington, Brough A66 J40 Penrith, Keswick, Brough A66 54°39′11″N 2°45′37″W / 54.653056°N 2.760186°W / 54.653056; -2.760186 (M6, J40)
274.4
274.0
441.6
441.0
Shap (A6) J39 Shap, Kendal (A6) 54°30′30″N 2°38′59″W / 54.508252°N 2.649765°W / 54.508252; -2.649765 (M6, J39)
Tebay services Services Tebay services 54°27′05″N 2°36′29″W / 54.451304°N 2.608008°W / 54.451304; -2.608008 (M6, Tebay Services)
River Lune 54°26′28″N 2°35′43″W / 54.44115°N 2.59518°W / 54.44115; -2.59518 (M6, River Lune)
268.9
268.5
432.7
432.1
Brough A685, Appleby B6260 J38 Kendal, Brough A685 54°26′12″N 2°35′49″W / 54.436805°N 2.596893°W / 54.436805; -2.596893 (M6, J38)
260.3
260.0
418.9
418.4
Kendal, Sedbergh A684 J37 Kendal, Sedbergh A684 54°19′51″N 2°37′22″W / 54.330965°N 2.622857°W / 54.330965; -2.622857 (M6, J37)
No access Services Killington Lake services 54°18′54″N 2°38′21″W / 54.315046°N 2.639122°W / 54.315046; -2.639122 (M6, Killington Lake Services)
252.7
252.3
406.7
406.0
Barrow, Kendal A590 (A591), Kirkby Lonsdale A65 J36 Skipton, Kirkby Lonsdale A65, Barrow A590 54°14′11″N 2°43′00″W / 54.236365°N 2.716541°W / 54.236365; -2.716541 (M6, J36)
Burton-in-Kendal services Services No access 54°10′41″N 2°44′02″W / 54.178185°N 2.733879°W / 54.178185; -2.733879 (M6, Burton-in-Kendal Services)
Entering Cumbria Entering Lancashire 54°10′12″N 2°44′15″W / 54.17005°N 2.73748°W / 54.17005; -2.73748
245.1
244.6
394.4
393.6
Carnforth, Morecambe A601(M) (A6) J35 Carnforth, Morecambe A601(M) (A6) 54°07′43″N 2°44′59″W / 54.128700°N 2.749758°W / 54.128700; -2.749758 (M6, J35)
240.8
240.6
387.6
387.2
Kirkby Lonsdale, Heysham, Morecambe, Heysham Uk roadsign ferry.svg A683, Lancaster A589 J34 Lancaster, Morecambe, Heysham A683 54°04′18″N 2°46′16″W / 54.071578°N 2.771087°W / 54.071578; -2.771087 (M6, J34)
234.6
234.3
377.6
377.1
Lancaster (South) A6 J33 Garstang, Fleetwood A6 53°58′57″N 2°46′51″W / 53.982516°N 2.780743°W / 53.982516; -2.780743 (M6, J33)
Lancaster (Forton) services Services Lancaster (Forton) services 53°57′44″N 2°45′37″W / 53.962095°N 2.760229°W / 53.962095; -2.760229 (M6, Lancaster (Forton) Services)
River Wyre 53°57′14″N 2°45′05″W / 53.95391°N 2.75135°W / 53.95391; -2.75135 (M6, River Wyre)
221.5
221.0
356.5
355.7
Blackpool, Fleetwood M55
Preston (N) (A6)
J32 Blackpool, Preston (N) (A6) M55 53°48′24″N 2°41′52″W / 53.806759°N 2.697787°W / 53.806759; -2.697787 (M6, J32)
219.5
219.3
353.2
352.9
Preston (E), Longridge B6242 J31A No access (on-slip only) 53°47′20″N 2°39′30″W / 53.788940°N 2.658262°W / 53.788940; -2.658262 (M6, J31A)
River Ribble J31 Preston, Clitheroe A59 53°45′54″N 2°38′09″W / 53.764949°N 2.635903°W / 53.764949; -2.635903 (M6, J31)
Preston (C), Blackburn (N), Clitheroe A59 River Ribble
215.4
214.9
346.6
345.9
No access (on-slip only) J30 Manchester, Bolton M61, Leeds (M62), Blackburn (M65) 53°44′04″N 2°38′52″W / 53.734320°N 2.647705°W / 53.734320; -2.647705 (M6, J30)
213.9
213.5
344.3
343.6
Burnley, Blackburn, Preston (S) M65 J29 Burnley, Blackburn M65 53°42′58″N 2°39′39″W / 53.716190°N 2.660751°W / 53.716190; -2.660751 (M6, J29)
212.3
211.9
341.6
341.0
Leyland B5256 (A49) J28 Leyland B5256 53°41′45″N 2°40′39″W / 53.695893°N 2.677574°W / 53.695893; -2.677574 (M6, J28)
Charnock Richard services Services Charnock Richard services 53°37′54″N 2°41′27″W / 53.631534°N 2.690835°W / 53.631534; -2.690835 (M6, Charnock Richard Services)
204.8 329.6 Entering Lancashire J27 Wigan, Parbold A5209 53°35′23″N 2°41′40″W / 53.589728°N 2.694440°W / 53.589728; -2.694440 (M6, J27)
204.4 329.0 Parbold, Standish, Chorley A5209 Entering Greater Manchester
Gathurst Viaduct 53°33′42″N 2°42′03″W / 53.5617°N 2.7009°W / 53.5617; -2.7009 (M6, Gathurst Viaduct)
200.8
200.5
323.1
322.6
Skelmersdale, Liverpool, Southport M58 J26 Skelmersdale, Liverpool, Southport M58 53°32′03″N 2°41′53″W / 53.534110°N 2.698045°W / 53.534110; -2.698045 (M6, J26)
198.0
197.8
318.7
318.3
Wigan A49 J25 No access (on-slip only) 53°30′07″N 2°39′35″W / 53.501806°N 2.659678°W / 53.501806; -2.659678 (M6, J25)
196.9
196.5
316.9
316.3
No access (on-slip only) J24 St Helens, Ashton A58 53°29′12″N 2°39′10″W / 53.486718°N 2.652898°W / 53.486718; -2.652898 (M6, J24)
Entering Greater Manchester Entering Merseyside 53°28′49″N 2°38′38″W / 53.4802°N 2.64398°W / 53.4802; -2.64398
195.6
195.2
314.8
314.1
St Helens, Liverpool, Southport A580 J23 Manchester, Liverpool, Newton A580 53°28′17″N 2°38′01″W / 53.471292°N 2.633629°W / 53.471292; -2.633629 (M6, J23)
192.4 309.6 Entering Merseyside J22 Warrington (North) A49 53°26′24″N 2°35′03″W / 53.440116°N 2.584105°W / 53.440116; -2.584105 (M6, J22)
192.1 309.1 Newton A49, Leigh A579 Entering Cheshire
191.0
190.5
307.4
306.5
Leeds, Bolton, Manchester (N) M62 J21A Manchester, Bolton, Leeds M62 53°25′33″N 2°33′21″W / 53.425926°N 2.555909°W / 53.425926; -2.555909 (M6, J21A)
Liverpool, Warrington (N), Southport (M57) M62 Liverpool M62
188.3
188.0
303.0
302.5
Warrington (Ctr & East), Irlam A57 J21 Warrington (Central), Irlam A57 53°23′52″N 2°30′36″W / 53.397814°N 2.509947°W / 53.397814; -2.509947 (M6, J21)
Thelwall Viaduct 53°23′23″N 2°30′21″W / 53.389753°N 2.505784°W / 53.389753; -2.505784 (M6, Thelwall Viaduct)
185.6 298.7 NORTH WALES, Chester, Runcorn M56
Warrington (South), Lymm A50
Lymm Truck Stop
J20
Services
Macclesfield, Warrington (S) A50, Lymm B5158
Lymm Truck Stop
53°21′37″N 2°30′33″W / 53.360413°N 2.509089°W / 53.360413; -2.509089 (M6, J20)
185.3
184.5
298.2
296.9
NORTH WALES, Chester, Runcorn, Manchester (S & Airport interchange) M56[Note 1] 53°21′30″N 2°30′29″W / 53.358466°N 2.507973°W / 53.358466; -2.507973 (M6, J20A)
End of variable speed limit UK traffic sign 671.svg J19 Start of variable speed limit UK traffic sign 879.svg 53°18′42″N 2°25′03″W / 53.311596°N 2.417636°W / 53.311596; -2.417636 (M6, J19)
180.3
179.9
290.2
289.5
Manchester, Manchester Airport interchange (M56) A556 Northwich, Macclesfield, Knutsford A556
Knutsford services Services[Note 2] Knutsford services 53°18′03″N 2°24′06″W / 53.300826°N 2.401586°W / 53.300826; -2.401586 (M6, Knutsford Services)
172.2
171.9
277.2
276.7
Chester, Northwich, Middlewich A54 J18 Chester, Northwich, Middlewich A54 53°12′01″N 2°23′15″W / 53.200377°N 2.387509°W / 53.200377; -2.387509 (M6, J18)
168.9
168.3
271.3
270.8
Congleton, Sandbach A534 J17 Congleton, Sandbach A534 53°09′12″N 2°20′48″W / 53.153230°N 2.346697°W / 53.153230; -2.346697 (M6, J17)
Sandbach services Services Sandbach services 53°08′21″N 2°20′11″W / 53.139048°N 2.336526°W / 53.139048; -2.336526 (M6, Sandbach Services)
162.6 261.7 Entering Cheshire J16 Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stoke-on-Trent (North), Crewe, Nantwich A500 53°04′07″N 2°20′01″W / 53.068632°N 2.333565°W / 53.068632; -2.333565 (M6, J16)
Start of variable speed limit UK traffic sign 879.svg End of variable speed limit UK traffic sign 671.svg
162.3 261.2 Nantwich, Crewe A500 Entering Staffordshire
Keele services Services Keele services 52°59′37″N 2°17′22″W / 52.993555°N 2.289362°W / 52.993555; -2.289362 (M6, Keele Services)
153.1
152.9
246.4
246.1
Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme A500 J15 Stoke-on-Trent, Stone A500, Derby (A50) 52°58′32″N 2°13′35″W / 52.975573°N 2.226319°W / 52.975573; -2.226319 (M6, J15)
Stafford services (northbound) Services No access 52°53′02″N 2°10′07″W / 52.883919°N 2.168555°W / 52.883919; -2.168555 (M6, Stafford Services (Northbound))
No access Stafford services (southbound) 52°52′26″N 2°09′54″W / 52.873948°N 2.164907°W / 52.873948; -2.164907 (M6, Stafford Services (Southbound))
142.0
141.8
228.6
228.2
Stone, Stafford (N) A34 J14 Stafford (N) A34 52°49′35″N 2°08′44″W / 52.826520°N 2.145596°W / 52.826520; -2.145596 (M6, J14)
End of variable speed limit UK traffic sign 671.svg J13 Start of variable speed limit UK traffic sign 879.svg 52°45′49″N 2°06′28″W / 52.763567°N 2.107873°W / 52.763567; -2.107873 (M6, J13)
136.8
136.5
220.1
219.6
Stafford (S & C) A449 Stafford (S) A449
131.6
131.2
211.8
211.1
Telford (M54) A5 J12 NORTH WALES, Telford (M54), Wolverhampton, Cannock A5 52°41′20″N 2°06′12″W / 52.689026°N 2.103453°W / 52.689026; -2.103453 (M6, J12)
No access (on-slip only) J11A
(TOTSO SB)
The SOUTH M6 Toll 52°40′10″N 2°04′27″W / 52.669538°N 2.074270°W / 52.669538; -2.074270 (M6, J11A)
128.7
128.4
207.2
206.7
(M6 Toll), Cannock A460 J11 Wolverhampton, Cannock A460 52°39′30″N 2°03′52″W / 52.658424°N 2.06440°W / 52.658424; -2.06440 (M6, J11)
Hilton Park services Services Hilton Park services 52°38′36″N 2°03′23″W / 52.643402°N 2.056503°W / 52.643402; -2.056503 (M6, Hilton Park Services)
127.0
126.7
204.4
203.9
NORTH & MID WALES, Telford, Wolverhampton, Shrewsbury (A5) M54 J10A No access (on-slip only) 52°37′49″N 2°02′56″W / 52.630172°N 2.048950°W / 52.630172; -2.048950 (M6, J10A)
Entering West Midlands 52°37′07″N 2°01′56″W / 52.61874°N 2.03209°W / 52.61874; -2.03209
Entering Staffordshire 52°37′01″N 2°01′49″W / 52.61693°N 2.03038°W / 52.61693; -2.03038
123.3
122.9
198.4
197.8
Walsall, Wolverhampton (C & E) A454 J10 Wolverhampton (C & E), Walsall A454 52°35′06″N 2°00′51″W / 52.584877°N 2.014275°W / 52.584877; -2.014275 (M6, J10)
121.7
121.5
195.8
195.6
Wednesbury A461 J9 Wednesbury A461 52°34′00″N 2°00′12″W / 52.566543°N 2.003202°W / 52.566543; -2.003202 (M6, J9)
119.9 193.0 The SOUTH WEST, Birmingham (W & S), West Bromwich M5 J8
The SOUTH WEST, Birmingham (W & S), West Bromwich M5 52°33′26″N 1°58′36″W / 52.557125°N 1.976681°W / 52.557125; -1.976681 (M6, J8)
118.4
118.1
190.6
190.1
Birmingham (N), Walsall A34 J7
Birmingham (N) A34 52°33′11″N 1°56′02″W / 52.553081°N 1.934023°W / 52.553081; -1.934023 (M6, J7)
114.2
113.9
183.8
183.3
Birmingham (C) A38(M)
Birmingham (NE) A38
J6
Birmingham (NE), Lichfield A38
Birmingham (E & C) A38(M)
52°30′36″N 1°51′50″W / 52.510083°N 1.863792°W / 52.510083; -1.863792 (M6, J6)
Bromford Viaduct 52°30′22″N 1°49′44″W / 52.506°N 1.829°W / 52.506; -1.829 (M6, Bromford Viaduct)
110.9
110.8
178.5
178.3
Birmingham (E), Sutton Coldfield A452 J5
No access (on-slip only) 52°30′33″N 1°47′21″W / 52.509274°N 1.789076°W / 52.509274; -1.789076 (M6, J5)
Entering Warwickshire 52°30′47″N 1°45′13″W / 52.51302°N 1.75356°W / 52.51302; -1.75356
108.8
108.6
175.1
174.8
No access (on-slip only) J4A The NORTH EAST (M1), The NORTH WEST (M6 Toll), Tamworth M42(N)
The SOUTH WEST (M5), London (S & W) (M40), Birmingham (S), Birmingham International British Rail - colour reversed logo.svg, Birmingham Airport interchange, N.E.C. M42(S)
52°30′36″N 1°44′49″W / 52.509966°N 1.747062°W / 52.509966; -1.747062 (M6, J4A)
Entering West Midlands 52°28′43″N 1°42′54″W / 52.47857°N 1.71495°W / 52.47857; -1.71495
106.0 170.6 Start of variable speed limit UK traffic sign 879.svg J4 Coventry (S & W), Birmingham (E), N.E.C., Birmingham International British Rail - colour reversed logo.svg, Birmingham Airport interchange A446 52°28′37″N 1°42′26″W / 52.476808°N 1.707237°W / 52.476808; -1.707237 (M6, J4)
105.7 170.1 Coleshill A446
The SOUTH WEST (M5), Birmingham (S), Solihull, N.E.C., Birmingham Airport interchange M42
End of variable speed limit UK traffic sign 671.svg
The NORTH WEST M6 Toll, Tamworth M42(N) J3A
(TOTSO NB)
No access (on-slip only) 52°28′26″N 1°40′18″W / 52.473880°N 1.671681°W / 52.473880; -1.671681 (M6, J3A)
Corley services Services Corley services 52°28′17″N 1°32′47″W / 52.471488°N 1.546326°W / 52.471488; -1.546326 (M6, Corley Services)
96.9
96.4
155.9
155.2
Coventry (North), Nuneaton, Bedworth A444 J3 Coventry (N), Nuneaton A444, Bedworth B4113 52°27′47″N 1°29′38″W / 52.463004°N 1.493776°W / 52.463004; -1.493776 (M6, J3)
Entering Warwickshire Entering West Midlands 52°27′29″N 1°28′58″W / 52.45798°N 1.48271°W / 52.45798; -1.48271
Entering West Midlands Entering Warwickshire 52°26′24″N 1°26′24″W / 52.43995°N 1.43995°W / 52.43995; -1.43995
93.7
93.3
150.8
150.1
Coventry, Warwick A46
Leicester, Hinckley M69
J2 (M1(N)), Leicester M69, Coventry (E) A46 52°26′16″N 1°25′47″W / 52.437870°N 1.429832°W / 52.437870; -1.429832 (M6, J2)
85.6
85.2
137.8
137.1
Rugby A426 J1 Rugby, Lutterworth A426 52°24′29″N 1°14′45″W / 52.408087°N 1.245725°W / 52.408087; -1.245725 (M6, J1)
Entering Warwickshire Entering Leicestershire 52°24′22″N 1°12′35″W / 52.40604°N 1.2096°W / 52.40604; -1.2096
85.2 137.1 Start of motorway UK motorway symbol.svg M1 J19
The SOUTH, London, Northampton M1 52°24′02″N 1°10′31″W / 52.400442°N 1.175215°W / 52.400442; -1.175215 (M6, southern terminus)
The NORTH, Leicester M1(N) End of motorway Mauritius Road Signs - Information Sign - End of Motorway.svg
Road continues as
A14 towards Huntingdon
Notes
  1. ^ 1: Southbound offslip for the M56 signed as J20A.
  2. ^ 2: Heavy goods vehicles cannot drive here.

References[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]

KML is from Wikidata