Spaghetti Junction is 40 years old

Spaghetti Junction in Birmingham celebrates its 40th birthday this week.

The Gravelly Hill Interchange on the M6 was opened for vehicles on 24 May 1972.

The structure sits between M6 and the A38(M) several miles north of Birmingham city centre. It links the M6 with the A38, A5127 and several smaller roads and covers 30 acres and is supported by 559 concrete columns. Construction involved 13,000 tonnes of steel reinforcement and 134,000 m3 of concrete.

Construction started in 1968 and during the first year of opening, it was used by an average of 40,000 vehicles per day. It is now used by an average of over 210,000 vehicles a day, keeping the regional and national economies moving.

Mike Penning, Roads Minister, said: “When it was built, Spaghetti Junction was the most exciting project in the history of our road system. Since then, it has become a West Midlands landmark and is probably one of the most recognisable interchanges in Europe.

“Over the last four decades it has been one of the hubs of our transport system and made a significant contribution to the economic development of the West Midlands and the country as a whole.”

The Highways Agency is responsible for managing, operating and maintaining the interchange. Its regular maintenance regime for the interchange includes the replacement of expansion joints, painting of steelwork, clearing drainage channels and gutters, clearance of vegetation and removal of graffiti.

In addition, Highways Agency Traffic Officers are responsible for patrolling all motorways in the Midlands to clear any incidents quickly, whilst staff at the regional control centre monitor via CCTV and using other state-of-the-art technology to keep traffic moving.

Tim Harbot, Highways Agency Regional Director for the Midlands, said: “With continued maintenance and repair, we expect Spaghetti Junction to have a long future.

“We are currently preparing for the installation of managed motorways technology on the M6 through Gravelly Hill, which will allow hard shoulder running and variable speed limits to increase capacity and improve traffic flows.”

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