IT’S been 50 years since the iconic Spaghetti Junction first welcomed traffic onto its roads.
The junction forms part of the M6 travelling through the West Midlands and was previously called the Gravelly Hill Interchange.
It is used by over 200,000 vehicles a day, despite only being designed for 70,000-a-day.
These statistics include almost 26,000 lorries and more than 31,000 light-good vehicles.
National Highways customer services director, Melanie Clarke, said: “Spaghetti Junction is a special part of England’s motorway network. It’s something to be proud of in Birmingham because it’s known all around the world – quite rightly – as a feat of engineering.
“It’s also incredibly fitting that the 50th anniversary of the road opening coincides with Birmingham this year playing host to the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“Spaghetti Junction will be pivotal in helping to connect athletes, sports enthusiasts and tourists with the city during the event.”
To celebrate this milestone, here are 12 facts about Spaghetti Junction.
1. The junction is an interchange between several roads, including the M6, A38, A38 (M) connecting Birmingham and the M6.
2. There are more than 250 spans, crossbeams and expansion joints, more than 600 columns, and more than 3,000 bridge bearings.
3. The slip roads are around 2.5 miles long with the M6 less than a mile at the structure.
4. The Birmingham Evening Mail coined the phrase ‘Spaghetti Junction’ when they described the road as a “cross between a plate of spaghetti and an unsuccessful attempt at a Staffordshire knot”.
5. It costs around £7m every year to maintain the structure and keep it in a safe and serviceable condition
6. Spaghetti Junction was designed by engineer Sir Evan Owen Williams.
7. Work started on the road in 1968, taking four years to complete.
8. Many of its regular maintenance programmes take place underneath the road.
9. The highest point of the structure is 80ft in the air.
10. The site covers around 30 acres with inspections teams walking an average of 12-15 miles a day.
11. Spaghetti Junction formed the backdrop for filming 2018’s Ready Player One, with some scenes filmed underneath the structure.
12. Special templates featuring graffiti were stuck to the concrete structures during the filming and various props such as cars and tires were added to the set, with a ‘camp’ constructed for the new film.