As Spaghetti Junction turned 40 on 24 May, the Freight Transport Association said that the level of tolls – including those for goods vehicles – on any new, privately built parts of the roads infrastructure should be restricted in order to get the best use out of all parts of the roads network.
Originally known as the Gravelly Hill Interchange the junction serves in total 18 routes, and is an essential part of the road network in the West Midlands as it most importantly links the M6 with the A38(M) Aston Expressway in Birmingham, as well as the A38 (Tyburn Road) and the A5127.
When the M6 Toll road was planned, it was envisaged that significant relief would be provided for the M6 and Spaghetti Junction, but that did not happen, particularly for goods vehicles. The toll charger decided to price heavy goods vehicles off that road, leaving them, along with the majority of motorists, to use the M6.
Malcolm Bingham, FTA’s Head of Road Network Management Policy, said:
"Due to a combination of where people need to get to and excessive tolls, particularly for goods vehicles, the 40-year-old Spaghetti Junction infrastructure to the north of Birmingham is still the choice for most drivers. Therefore we believe that going forward, some rules are needed in order to make privately built parts of the road network affordable for all drivers, including goods vehicles."
Spaghetti Junction was originally built to take 75,000 vehicles per day but now carries around 210,000 per day. The junction was built to last for 120 years; however, less than one-third of the way through its projected life it has had major repair work, adding to the maintenance budget for what is the central part of England’s motorway system.