Irish contractor John Sisk & Son has been selected by Highways England to design and build a new junction at Walsall.

The junction will replace the bridges over the motorway, as well as increase capacity at the traffic bottleneck and improve safety.

Preparation work will commence in autumn. Construction will begin in January next year and be completed in 2022.

The £78m project is a joint venture between Highways England and Walsall Council, supported by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership.

Highways England said that as the current junction is more than 50 years old, replacement of the bridges over the motorway will avoid extensive maintenance, as well as make the junction larger and reduce delays for road users.

The new junction is expected to facilitate growth at the Black Country Enterprise Zone in Darlaston and improve accessibility for cyclists and pedestrians.

A public inquiry was conducted in April, and the Secretary of State confirmed orders to acquire the land needed to modify the junction and layout of the local roads and motorway slip roads.

Highways England said that only a small area would be required on a permanent basis as the scheme will use existing highway land where possible.

Highways England project manager David Reed said: “We are delighted to announce that John Sisk & Son have been appointed to lead this important scheme which will tackle congestion at a very busy junction at the heart of the country.

“This is a significant milestone for the project, which will ultimately bring smoother and safer journeys for the many thousands of drivers using junction ten every day.”

M6 Junction ten experiences significant congestion and delays, which was mentioned as one of the major transport issues facing the region in the West Midlands Strategic Transport Plan.

John Sisk & Son managing director UK Civils Paul Brown said: “Sisk is delighted to be awarded this major highways scheme. The project provides us with an opportunity to further enhance our reputation and continue our excellent relationship with Highways England, following the recent successful completion of the A19 works in the North East.

“We are committed to delivering the project in line with Highways England’s key imperatives and to maximising social value to benefit Walsall Council.”