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M6 Toll

From Academic Kids

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M6Toll.jpg
Roadside sign showing tariffs for the M6 Toll.

The M6 Toll (previously called the Birmingham North Relief Road, or BNRR) is the United Kingdom'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. This busiest section of the M6 was previously carrying up to 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 before the opening of the toll road.

In 1992, a private sector company, Midland Expressway Ltd (MEL), won a 53-year concession to build and operate the road as an early form of public-private partnership scheme, with the company recouping its costs by setting and collecting tolls. The concession period began when construction began, the idea being that it would cover three years of construction and 50 years of operation, before the road was returned to the Government. MEL is 75% owned by Macquarie Infrastructure Group of Australia who operate many tolled roads in Australia and across the world including Highway_407 in Canada. The remaining 25% is owned by Autostrade, who operate Italy's motorways.

MEL contracted out the construction of the road to a consortium of major contractors Carillion, Alfred McAlpine, Balfour Beatty and AMEC (together known as CAMBBA). Construction work began in Mid-2002. The road was partially opened on December 9 2003 for traffic entering from local junctions, then fully opened on December 14 2003.

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] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3303629.stm).

The road also affected canal restoration trusts, as restoration of the Lichfield Canal was threatened by the construction of the motorway, which cut across the canal's route. Funds were raised to build an aqueduct to carry the canal over the motorway (the aqueduct has been finished but the canal has yet to reach it, giving it an odd appearance). And there has been a beneficial side-effect - the Government has promised that never again will a new road be built in the path of a waterway restoration scheme, unless an aqueduct or tunnel is provided.

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 [2] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3303629.stm).

The M6 Toll is part of the (unsigned in the UK) E-road Template:Erd.

Contents

Features

The M6 Toll has only a few junctions, some 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 T6 and T7. 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.

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.

Tolls

As of the road's opening, tolls were £1 for motorcycles, £2 for cars, £5 for vans and £10 for lorries, each to rise by £1 after the first ten million vehicles. This figure was achieved in August 2004. 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 23 July 2004, the toll for HGVs was reduced from £10 to £6 due to the low numbers of lorries using the new motorway.

Prices rose on 14 June 2005 by 50 pence for cars and motorbikes and 1 for larger vehicles.

Toll collection

Tolls can be paid by one of four means: automated coin payments, payment at a staffed toll booth, automated credit/debit card payments or in advance via an M6 Toll tag. Not all methods are available at all toll gates; each of the toll gates features an electronic sign showing the payment methods available at the time.

Vehicles are classified electronically at the toll booths according to their number of wheels, number of axles and height at first axle. Thus vehicles with trailers are charged extra and some large models of 4x4 are classified as vans.

Failure to pay the toll for using the motorway is an offence. Anyone attemping to do so will be issued with an unpaid toll notice and required to send payment.

Junctions

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

No. Northbound Tolls Southbound Tolls
Southern end Merge between M42 northbound and M6 J3a northbound None Split between southbound M42 and a merge with M6 J3a southbound None
-- Merge from M6 J4a southbound None None
T1 Split for M42 northbound, entry from A4097 (M42 J9, A446) None Merge with M42 southbound None
T2 No entry or exit None A446 (M42 north) - Coleshill None
T3 Langley Mill A38 - Sutton Coldfield (exit and entry) Exit A38 - Birmingham (N)/Sutton Coldfield (exit and entry) Entry
Weeford Park toll
T4 Weeford Junction A38/A5 - Burton/Lichfield/Tamworth (exit and entry) Exit A5 (M42 north) - Tamworth (exit and entry) Exit
T5 Wall Entry from A5127 (A5/A5148) None A5148 (A38) - Lichfield/Burton Exit
T6 Brownhills A5195 - Brownhills/Burntwood (exit and entry) Exit A5195 - Brownhills/Burntwood (exit and entry) Exit
Norton Canes services
Great Wyrley toll
T7 Churchbridge A34/A460 - Walsall/Cannock/Rugeley None Entry None
T8 Wedges Mills A460 (M6 south) - Wolverhampton None Entry None
Northern end Merge with M6 J11a northbound None Begins from M6 J11a southbound None

See also

External links

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