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31 July 2017, 09:21
A contraflow system has been launched for traffic using the M5 in the West Midlands.
There will be travel disruption on the M5 in the Black Country for at least the next year for roadworks.
Concrete repairs and waterproofing work is taking place at the Oldbury viaduct, between J1 and J2, and the contraflow is being put in place to keep the carriageway open.
All traffic will be diverted onto the northbound carriageway, with two lanes operating in each direction, along with a 30mph speed limit.
Highways England senior project manager, Zbigniew Twarowski, said:
“We appreciate this will cause some delays but we’re doing everything possible to keep traffic moving, minimise disruption and maximise safety.
“Drivers are urged to plan journeys in advance, allow extra time and consider alternative modes of transport, car sharing or working from home where possible.”
Changes have been put in place at key junctions in the area, including M5 J4a northbound and M6 J8 southbound. This is to increase capacity where the M5 joins the M6 and M42 and reduce the amount of traffic heading towards the roadworks.
The Oldbury viaduct scheme, valued at more than £100 million, finishes in autumn 2018, with some minor work continuing into spring 2019.
Drivers are advised to expect long delays.
Drivers are being encouraged to explore other routes including the M42 and M6 to keep congestion to a minimum on the M5 and surrounding roads while work takes place.
There will be a 50mph speed limit on approach to the 30mph speed restriction between J1 and J2.
Signs have been installed advising drivers of alternative routes approaching the works along the M5 and M6, with motorists also reminded to consider using the M6 Toll.
A network of early warning strategic travel advice signs will be deployed many miles from the junctions to allow drivers to choose alternative routes at earlier steps in their journeys.
Digital travel information signs linked direct to the regional control centres that monitor traffic flows will also provide real time advice including travel times and distances.
The viaduct structure itself is safe, but Highways England say essential work needs to be carried out to ensure its safety.