M6 smart motorway

Balfour Beatty Vinci JV
West Midlands
Mar 2017
Jul 2020

We provided a large number of people to the Highways England M6 smart motorway upgrade for client Balfour Beatty Vinci.

Our teams were involved in upgrading the 22km stretch between junctions 2 (Coventry) and 4 (Coleshill) to an all-lane running smart motorway.

Teamwork and collaboration: Amandeep (VGC), Rupak (Hercules), Ravi (VGC), Richard (Lynch), Harry (Zone) and Jo (Danny Sullivan)

We were involved in removing the existing gantries, building new gantry bases, improving drainage and installing new cabling infrastructure. The project included 32 new gantries and 21km of new drainage.

In March 2019 our teams moved on to upgrading the central reservation. They helped to remove the steel barrier, improve the drainage, and install a new concrete barrier. We were also involved in creating nine new emergency refuge areas.

HSQE manager Richard Wheeler delivered make safety personal and plant vehicle marshal training to operatives on the project from all the labour suppliers, to help ensure everyone stayed safe.


Working to improve access to the Royal Oak Common allotments
Working to improve access to the Royal Oak Common allotments

In summer 2019 we worked in partnership with Lynch Plant Hire and BBV to improve access to the Royal Oak Common allotments. Heavy rain often closed the access route from Vicarage lane, making it impossible for elderly owners to access their allotments. VGC’s Ravinder Singh and Ranjit Singh worked with the other volunteers to level the track to make it easier to use. They also added drainage and ducting for an electricity supply to the allotment office. Finally, they created a bunded area to collect rain water to be used on the allotments in drier weather.

Roller driver Ranjit Singh, who has been working for VGC since July 2018, said: “It was a good experience: I really enjoyed working on the allotment.”

The allotment owners were delighted with the improvements. Kim Wainwright, association secretary, said: “Many of the elderly allotment owners who have not been visiting their plots have since come back and are now enjoying their time there. You have helped to revitalise the atmosphere among the members.”

Compliments and awards

“My husband and I would like to say how impressed we are by the level of workmanship displayed by those working on the M6 upgrade. We use the stretch between J17 and J19 every week, a notoriously busy area, but the delays due to the work being done have been kept to a minimum. The usual stereotype of workers leaning on their shovels has certainly not been in evidence here and the safety of working conditions has been noticeable. Well done all concerned!”

Member of the public – driver on M6

BBV certificate for M6In October 2019 BBV health and safety manager Andy Meiklejohn presented us with a certificate for achieving the most points in a BBV supply chain health and safety behaviour and culture assessment.

About the project

The M6 is also known as the backbone of Britain. It runs north-south, linking Rugby at J19 of the M1, where we were heavily involved in the new Catthorpe interchange, to Carlisle at the A74.

At 257.5 miles, it is England’s longest motorway. The Preston bypass, opened on 5 December 1958, was the first stretch of motorway in the UK. The smart motorway upgrade was planned to reduce congestion by increasing the capacity between junctions 2 and 4.

The project included

  • installing new electronic information signs, signals and CCTV cameras
  • installing nine emergency refuge areas
  • improving the central reservation and adding a reinforced barrier
  • adding new noise barriers in built up areas

For more information on the M6 upgrade see the Highways England website.