Find M6 motorway alternative routes to avoid traffic jams and closures

Running from Junction 19 of the M1, the M6 makes up one of the busiest routes from the Midlands and London to Manchester, Liverpool and beyond – with frequent traffic congestion and closures making alternative routes essential for all travellers.M6 Motorway at nightFind alternative routes for journeys taking in the M6 and avoid traffic jams as you up or down the country  (Credit: Flickr/Dunk)

Drivers heading between London, Manchester and beyond will often find themselves spending much of the journey on the M6 and M6 Toll road.

As part of the 'backbone' of the UK, the M6 is one of the country's busiest cross-country routes. It has the fourth-highest junction-to-junction daily vehicle flow at 167,565. The high traffic flow and importance of M6 make it prone to congestion and closures due to vehicle accidents.

Use this guide to find the fastest ready-signposted route between junctions – keeping your trip on the move when the carriageways clog.

M6 alternative routes and emergency directions from where you are

If you find yourself heading into M6 congestion or closure, use this list of emergency diversions as alternative routes to help navigate the jams. The list will tell you how long the alternative route is and where it starts and ends.

You can use the list to find the correct emergency symbol to follow– meaning there's no need to rely on maps or sat-nav devices when finding your way.

Emergency diverson symbols

Key and how to use diversion: Find the junction intersection on the M6 motorway that you are close to by searching the list below, select the alternative route and follow the emergency diversion symbol as listed below.

Diversion: Length is stated in miles

Symbols: OT = Open Triangle – OC =Open Circle – OD = Open Diamond – OS = Outline Square

Symbols: FT = Filled Triangle – FC = Filled Circle – FD = Filled Diamond – FS = Filled Square

Direction: NB = Northbound – SB = Southbound

Route Direction Symbol Miles M6 diversion
M6 NB OD 4.1 M6 NB Closure Jct 21a to 22
M6 NB FT 10.7 M6 NB Jct 16 to Jct 17
M6 NB FD 6.6 M6 NB Closure Jct 17 to 18
M6 NB OT 11.8 M6 NB Closure 18 to 19
M6 NB FS 10.0 M6 NB Closure Jct 19 to 20
M6 NB OD 8.0 M6 NB Closure Jct20 to J21
M6 NB OD 7.5 M6 NB Closure Jct20 to J21 pt2
M6 NB FS 4.9 M6 NB Jct 21 to Jct 21a
M6 NB FS 5.4 M6 NB Closure Jct 22 to 23
M6 NB OD 4.4 M6 NB Closure J23 to J24
M6 NB FT 17.3 M6 NB Closure J24 to J25
M6 NB FT 5.9 M6 NB Closure J25 to J26
M6 NB OT 5.5 M6 NB Closure J26 to J27 Non HGV Route
M6 NB OT 9.7 M6 NB Closure J26 to J27 HGV Route
M6 NB OD 12.4 M6 NB Closure J27 to J28
M6 NB FS 2.9 M6 NB Closure J28 to J29
M6 NB OD 6.7 M6 NB Closure J30 to J31
M6 NB OD 8.1 M6 NB Closure J30 to J31 pt2
M6 SB OT 7.9 M6 SB Closure J21a to J21
M6 SB OC 10.7 M6 SB Closure J17 to J16
M6 SB FS 6.6 M6 SB Closure J18 to J17
M6 SB FC 12.0 M6 SB J19 to J18
M6 SB OT 10.7 M6 SB Closure J20 to J19
M6 SB FC 7.5 M6 SB J21 to J20
M6 SB FC 3.1 M6 SB Closure J22 toJ21a
M6 SB OT 5.4 M6 SB Closure J23 to J22
M6 SB FC 4.7 M6 SB Closure J24 to J23
M6 SB OS 17.7 M6 SB Closure J25 to J24
M6 SB OS 17.7 M6 SB Closure J26 to J25
M6 SB FS 5.2 M6 SB Closure J27 to J26 Non HGV Route
M6 SB FS 9.3 M6 SB Closure J27 to J26 HGV Route
M6 SB OS 12.2 M6 SB Closure J28 to J27
M6 SB FC 2.7 M6 SB CLosure J29 to J28
M6 SB FC 2.9 M6 SB CLosure J29 to J28 pt2
M6 SB OT 7.0 M6 SB Closure J31 to J30
M6 SB FD 9.7 M6   motorway - Junction 45 TO 44
M6 NB OT 5.0 M6   motorway - Junction 43 TO 44
M6 SB OS 5.2 M6   motorway - Junction 44 TO 43
M6 NB OC 4.5 M6   motorway - Junction 42 TO 43
M6 SB OD 4.7 M6   motorway - Junction 43 TO 42
M6 NB FT 14.1 M6   motorway - Junction 41 TO 42
M6 SB FS 13.8 M6   motorway - Junction 42 TO 41
M6 NB OC 5.4 M6   motorway - Junction 40 TO 41
M6 SB FD 5.2 M6   motorway - Junction 41 TO 40
M6 NB OT 13.7 M6   motorway - Junction 39 TO 40
M6 SB OS 13.7 M6   motorway - Junction 40 TO 39
M6 NB OD 26.4 M6   motorway - Junction 36 TO 39
M6 SB OC 24.2 M6   motorway - Junction 39 TO 36
M6 NB FC 21.2 M6   motorway - Junction 34 TO 36
M6 SB FD 20.8 M6   motorway - Junction 36 TO 34
M6 NB OT 7.8 M6   motorway - Junction 33 TO 34
M6 SB OS 8.5 M6   motorway - Junction 34 TO 33
M6 NB OC 15.9 M6   motorway - Junction 32 TO 33
M6 SB OD 16.0 M6   motorway - Junction 33 TO 32
M6 NB FT 6.6 M6   motorway - Junction 31 TO 32
M6 EB FT 7.3 M6 M6 J1 to M1 J19 EB Closure
M6 WB OT 8.1 M6 M1 J19 to M6 J1 WB Closure
M6 WB OT 7.8 M6 M1 J19 to M6 J1 WB Closure
M6 SB OT 4.9 A5127 Salford Circus and M6 SB Jct 6 to Jct 5
M6 NB OS 7.2 M6 NB closure Jct 6 to Jct 7
M6 NB OS 13.5 M6 NB Jct 6 to 7 for A38 M approach
M6 NB FD 5.9 M6 NB closure Jct 7 to Jct 8
M6 NB OT 5.6 M6 Jct 7 to 8
M6 SB OS 8.5 M6 Jct 8 to 7
M6 NB OC 7.4 M6 Jct 8 Diverge to Jct 8 Converge
M6 SB OT 6.5 M6 Jct 9 to 8 for traffic to M5 South
M6 NB OD 5.9 M6 NB closure Jct 9 to Jct 10
M6 NB OC 4.1 M6 NB closure Jct 10A to 11
M6 SB FD 4.2 M6 SB closure Jct 11 to 10A
M6 NB OC 4.7 M6 NB closure Jct 11 to 11A
M6 SB OD 4.2 M6 SB closure Jct 12 to 11A
M6 NB OT 18.6 M6 NB Jct 1 to  2
M6 SB OS 20.8 M6 Jct 4 to 3
M6 SB OS 11.2 M6 SB Jct 3 to 2
M6 SB OT 17.2 M6 SB Jct 2 to 1
M6 NB OT 13.7 M6 Jct 15 to 14
M6 SB OD 8.7 M42 Jct 4a to Jct 4
M6 SB OD 8.7 M6 Jct 4a to jct 4
M6 NB OC 11.1 M6 Jct 4a to 5
M6 NB OS 18.4 M6 Jct 5 to 4a
M6 SB FS 15.5 M6 Jct 5 to 4a
M6 NB FC 2.3 M6 Jct 6 Diverge to Converge
M6 NB FC 8.8 Jct 6 Offslip Diverge to A38- A38 M
M6 SB OS 6.9 Jct 8 Converge
M6 SB OC 7.0 Jct 8 Diverge to Jct 8Converge
M6 SB OC 3.8 M6 J8 Diverge to M5 Converge
M6 NB OC 5.7 M6 J8 Diverge to M6 SB Converge
M6 NB OC 3.7 M6 J8 closure
M6 SB OS 4.1 SB closure Jct 9 to Jct 8
M6 NB OC 9.6 M6 NB closure Jct 10/10A 11 and M54 WB
M6 NB OC 14.6 M6 NB closure Jct 10/10A
M6 SB FS 9.5 M6 Jct 11a to Jct 11
M6 NB OC 4.7 M6 NB closure Jct 11A to 12
M6 NB OC 5.4 M6 NB closure Jct 11A to 12
M6 SB FS 9.5 M6 Jct 12 to 11a
M6 NB OC 21.0 M6 NB Jct 2 to 4
M6 NB OT 6.7 M6 NB Jct 12 to 13
M6 NB OD 5.9 M6 NB Jct 13 to Jct 14
M6 NB OT 13.9 M6 Jct 14 to 15
M6 SB OC 6.9 M6 NB Jct 13 to 12
M6 SB OS 6.5 M6 SB Jct 14 to 13
M6 NB OD 12.7 M6 Jct 15 to 16
M6 SB OS 12.4 M6 Jct 16 to 15
M6 NB OC 12.8 Jct 4A to 5
M6 NB OC 18.0 Jct 4A to 5
M6 SB OT 19.4 Jct 5 to 4A
M6 NB OC 5.1 Jct 5 to 6
M6 SB OT 13.4 Jct 6 to 5
M6 SB OD 2.3 M6 off slip roads To A38 M
M6 SB FC 6.6 M6 Jct 6 - A38M diverge to M6 North
M6 NB OT 4.5 M6 Jct 6 A38 M Diverge to M6 Spouth
M6 NB OS 7.6 M6 NB  Jct 6  A5127 Salford Circus to M6 North
M6 NB FT 16.9 M6 Jct 6 closure for traffic to A5127 and A38 M
M6 NB OC 2.3 M6 Slip Road to Salford Circus from M6 North&South
M6 NB OC 2.3 M6 Jct 6 closure - M6 Salford Circus
M6 SB FS 5.0 M6 Jct 5 to Jct 4A
M6 SB OD 5.7 M6 SB closure Jct 7 to Jct 6
M6 NB FD 6.5 M6 Toll Road Closure J3A To M6 Toll Junction 1
M6 NB FT 10.2 M6 Toll Road Closure at M42 J9 To T3
M6 NB FT 6.6 M6 Toll Road Closure T3 To T4
M6 NB FC 2.8 M6 Toll Road Closure T4 To T5
M6 NB FS 8.1 M6 Toll Road Closure T5 To T6
M6 NB FD 9.7 M6 Toll Road Closure T6 To T7
M6 NB FD 3.8 M6 Toll Road Closure T7 To T8
M6 NB FD 1.7 M6 Toll Road Closure T8 To J11A
M6 NB FC 5.1 M6 Toll Road Closure J11A To J12
M6 SB OT 1.9 M6 Toll Road Closure J11A To T8
M6 SB OT 3.7 M6 Toll Road Closure T8 To T7
M6 SB OD 9.3 M6 Toll Road Closure T7 To T6
M6 SB OT 7.5 M6 Toll Road Closure T6 To T5
M6 SB OC 4.1 M6 Toll Road Closure T5 To T4
M6 SB OD 6.5 M6 Toll Road Closure T4 To T3
M6 SB OC 6.7 M6 Toll Road Closure T3 To T2
M6 SB OC 1.8 M6 Toll Road Closure T2 To T1
M6 SB OT 7.7 M6 Toll Road Closure (M42) J8 To J7A (M6)
M6 SB OC 9.5 M6 Toll Road Closure (M42) J8 To J7A (M42 J6)
M6 SB OT 6.0 M6 Toll Road Closure (M42) J7A To J3A (M6)
M6 SB OC 9.3 M6 Toll Road Closure (M42) J7A To J3A (M42)
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

What is the M6? 

While some roads are popular with motorists, this certainly isn't a claim that many will level against the M6 – with a 2018 survey from InsuretheGap.com naming it as the UK's 2nd least favourite mortorway behind the M25.

It's also the route that anyone travelling from London and the south east toward north-west England (and vice-versa) will likely find themselves joining.

Why is the M6 motorways known for heavy traffic and jams?

As the main western north-south motorway connecting the north-west of England with the South, it's no surprise one of the UK's major arteries suffers from regular clogging. With a high-ratio of trucks mixing with cars, there are plenty of pinch-points where drivers can expect delays on a daily basis.

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Please note: Follow these signs at your own risk.. It is not possible to guarantee they will always be faster than remaining on the motorway.

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