Category Archives: M6

The Accidental Cathedral

In 2009 it was voted Britain’s most terrifying junction, 40 years ago it was opened and called the Gravelly hill interchange but we don’t know it by it’s official name, we all know it as Spaghetti junction. For those that want to know, Jct 6 of the M6 in Birmingham links the M6, A38 and A5127. Yes that’s right it’s a junction that links three roads, which would be hard to guess from the complexity of it.

The whole of the junction is elevated, it covers 30 acres and is supported by 559 concrete columns that rise up to 80 feet high; which form a magnificent accidental cathedral. It took four years to build costing £10.8 million and it spans two rivers, three canals, and two railway lines.

The site was of such strategic importance that it was thought to be a nuclear bomb target for the Russians in the cold war. Luckily the only bombing that took place was of a totally different kind. It soon became a mecca for local graffiti artists, there’s still stuff down there from the early 80’s from writers such as Astro, Atiski and Chase albeit a bit faded now.

It really is a remarkable place, just outside the city of Birmingham the sprawling structure is situated magnificently. It’s dark, its vast, and the constant rumble from the connecting motorway pulsates its rhythm. From below the sounds of the Spaghetti splendour above, roar and vibrate as a living being. Feeling energised and alive you can wander about for hours along the many paths that spread out through the supporting columns . You may not see anyone for sometime, which is why it was such a popular place for graffiti artists.

I don’t think when the planners started this project off 55 years ago they had any idea what they were about to create. 11 years planning and 4 years building has given Birmingham yet another landmark, Happy birthday Spaghetti Junction.

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