Mike Bull, Highways England’s senior smart motorway manager for the north, said: “The smart motorway upgrade on the M6 is one of the biggest construction projects currently taking place in the north, and I’m pleased we’re now reaching a major milestone with the new safety barrier.

“When the smart motorway goes live, the 118,000 drivers who use the route every day will benefit from an extra lane in each direction – increasing capacity by a third.”

The southbound carriageway on the M6 will be closed overnight between junctions 18 and 17 on Friday, August 11, and the northbound carriageway will be closed overnight between the same junctions on Saturday, August 12 between 10pm and 8am.