The next phase of work on a £282 million motorway relief road scheme aimed at easing congestion at one of the West Midlands' busiest junctions starts this month.
Construction will begin on new slip roads at what will become junction 5a of the M42 south east of Solihull.
It is the latest phase of work around the notorious junction six of the motorway which is known as a traffic hotspot as it serves Birmingham Airport, the NEC campus, Resorts World Arena and National Motorcycle Museum and also connects to the A45 for Coventry city centre. It is also close to the planned HS2 Interchange station.
The overall project will see a new 1.5-mile dual carriageway link road constructed to the west of Bickenhill between the A45 Clock Interchange and the new junction 5a exit on the M42 south of junction six near Solihull Road.
This will allow access to the NEC and airport for vehicles travelling north only on the M42 after junction five (see map below).
There are also plans to improve traffic flow at the junction six roundabout, Clock Interchange and the section of the A45 between these two sites.
National Highways said it would be constructing retaining walls for the new junction and the installation of overhead gantries and tech equipment which will give drivers real-time traffic updates.
Work to construct narrow lanes in both directions will begin on the M42 carriageway from March 18 after which a 50mph speed limit will be in force until spring 2024.
National Highways said the narrow lanes were needed on the motorway to ensure the safety of workers, with drivers encouraged to allow additional time for their journeys.
Elsewhere, the former Solihull Road bridge is due for demolition in May, meaning the M42 will be closed in both directions between junctions five and six from 10pm on Friday May 5 to 5am on Monday May 8. The new Solihull Road bridge was lifted into position in October and is expected to open in the summer.
The project has been in the pipeline for several years and was given the green light by the secretary of state for construction work to begin in 2020.
Senior project manager Leyton Rahman said: "We've worked hard to keep disruption to a minimum throughout this scheme and we've now reached a point in the project where we need to put some roadworks in place on the mainline M42.
"The road will remain open to vehicles however there will be some overnight closures in the coming months while we demolish the old Solihull Road bridge.
"Safety is always our top priority and our teams will be carrying out essential enabling works next to the M42 which means we need to limit the speed of vehicles travelling through the works area. We'd like to thank motorists for their patience and to allow additional time for their journeys."