Construction giant Carillion has been chosen to carry out £126.4 million work to transform a section of the M6 in Birmingham to a managed motorway.
The Wolverhampton-based firm has been selected by the Highways Agency to carry out the scheme which aims to cut congestion, make journey times more reliable and improve safety through the use of variable mandatory speed limits.
It will see the hard shoulder opened as an extra traffic lane on the M6 between junctions 5 to 8.
Advanced works are due to start from the end of next month and main construction work is due to get underway between April and June 2012.
Roads Minister Mike Penning said the Highways Agency is working hard to ensure it gets maximum value for money for every pound spent and has identified an estimated £49 million saving on the previous cost estimate.
He said: “I welcome today’s contract award which confirms that the Highways Agency is on track to start work on this important scheme on time.
“This £126.4 million investment shows the Government is delivering on its promise to invest in transport schemes that reduce congestion, improve safety, and support economic growth. At the height of construction hundreds of people will be working on this project that will provide much needed additional capacity for more than 160,000 road users who use this motorway every day.
“Our experience shows that managed motorways deliver significant safety and journey time benefits. That’s why the Government is continuing to invest in these schemes and has added two additional managed motorway schemes - one of which is the M6 J10A to J13 project - to the Agency’s roads programme. This means that by 2015 work will have started on 16 such projects.
“The Highways Agency is ensuring value for money and making excellent progress against its commitment to reduce the cost of major capital projects by 20 per cent across the roads programme.”
This project is phase three in a programme of work to deliver managed motorways to the M6. The innovative system is already in place between junctions 4 and 5, and junctions 8 and 10A - meaning that once completed in 2014-15, road users will benefit from smoother, more reliable journeys along a 20-mile stretch of the M6.