DRIVERS travelling in the Midlands are being advised of changes taking place on the M5.
A new section of smart motorway between junctions 4a (Bromsgrove) and 6 (Worcester) will be completely open by the end of this week, with an extra lane in both directions.
The changes will also see new overhead signs and signals to give drivers more information and variable speed limits to smooth traffic flow.
The first phase of the scheme between Bromsgrove and Droitwich Spa opened last month, with the final phase from Droitwich Spa to Worcester opening this week.
Meanwhile, a major repair scheme is taking place further along the M5.
The essential repair and waterproofing scheme at the Oldbury viaduct, between junctions 1 and 2, is due to finish in autumn 2018, with some minor work continuing into spring 2019, and motorists are advised to seek alternative routes.
From mid-summer, there will be a contraflow, narrow lanes and a 30mph speed limit between the affected junctions.
Slip roads will be kept open throughout, to ease effects on the local network, but drivers are advised to expect long delays.
Motorists travelling from across the country are encouraged to consider routes such as the M42 and M6 to keep congestion to a minimum on the M5 and surrounding roads while work takes place.
At the same time, to manage the volume and flow of traffic through this busy part of the network and to reduce the potential impact on local roads, other measures will be put in place.
They include: Northbound at M5 junction 4a, there will be two lanes leading onto the M42, with one lane continuing onto the M5 to encourage drivers to take the alternative route around Birmingham.
At the link between the M6 and the M5 southbound, one lane will lead onto the M5, with three lanes continuing onto the M6.
There will be reduced speed limits on approach to the 30mph speed restriction between junctions 1 and 2.
Some of the suggested alternative routes for motorists include:
Southbound M6 traffic north of junction 16 (A500) heading South East use A50 / M1
Southbound M1 traffic north of junction 23A (A42/M42) heading South West use M69 and A46
Northbound M1 traffic south of junction 19 (M6) heading North West use M1 / A50
Westbound A14 traffic east of M1 heading North West use M1 / A50
Clockwise M25 traffic south of junction 16 (M40) heading North West use M1 / A50
Northbound M5 south of junction 9 (A46) for North East use A46
The viaduct structure itself is safe but as it was built in the late sixties, the work needs to be carried out to protect it for the future.
For more information about the work visit www.highways.gov.uk/oldburyviaduct
Highways England provides live traffic information via its website, local and national radio travel bulletins, electronic road signs and mobile apps.
Local Twitter services are also available at @HighwaysWMIDS.