Roadworks on the A38 (Spaghetti Junction)…AHH!

Paul Fielding
Divisional Director

Following on from my original blog of 12 April 2016 entitled ‘Commuting into and out of Birmingham City Centre for work – you could get out of the car of course!’, I made the huge mistake on 25 June 2016 of doing something that I swore I would never do.. yes I actually drove in. I had legitimate reasons for this. I won’t bore you with details but after arriving at a stupidly early time that ‘legitimate reason’ then cancelled our late night meeting so I was right royally miffed at the prospect of driving home during the evening peak.

I am now therefore going to give you a step by step rundown of how the journey home went:

4.45pm – I left early from my office on Colmore Row to avoid the rush. ‘What rush?’ I genuinely thought; ‘the kids are off school aren’t they? The traffic will be much quieter.’

5pm – 500 yards travelled as I finally managed to turn right onto the Aston Expressway. Why are there so many cars when the kids are off school and everyone is in Skegness?

5.10pm – With the traffic firmly backed up I changed route and went right at the fly over past Aston University and past the Bull Ring. Time to put the radio on to hear why the traffic is so bad!

5.20pm – I come to a standstill in Digbeth. No traffic news at all so I presume that this is normal (I’ve been told now that it is) so I decide to put on a bit of Al Green to calm me down as I’m getting annoyed. Nothing like a bit of Al to calm you down.

5.30pm – I have moved 10 yards since 5.20pm.

5.40pm – Another 10 yards gone. Somebody has just used his car to go down the bus lane and shaved at least 20 minutes off my time. The plonker is also blocking some of the buses. It’s warm and the window is down and I think about saying something. His rather large arms put me off though and I instead rehearse what I would say in my head. Al Green goes off because his voice is now annoying me. On comes Black Sabbath instead. Suits the mood.

5.50pm – Now Ozzy is getting on my wick so that goes off and so does the music. I sit there quietly contemplating what would happen if I just rammed into the car in front to move them out of the way. It is after all only a 15 year old Nissan Micra. My car would take it easily!

6pm – I finally get by the island onto the Warwick Road. “Great!” I think to myself; my speedometer has gone beyond 5 miles per hour. Short lived though as the Warwick Road is also backed up. I console myself with the fact that the meeting I was due to attend would only just be starting now and I’m already an eighth of the way home. Result.

6.30pm – I finally arrive back home in Solihull.

So it took me 1 hour 45 minutes to travel approximately 8 miles. That is 4.5714 miles per hour, 7.357 kilometres per hour or 2.0436 meters per second. To put that into context that is half as fast as a chicken at top speed! In normal circumstances my journey would be:

5.00pm – Get on my bike and ride down the canal home.
5.40pm – arrive home
5.50pm – showered and feeling good at the exercise I’ve just done.

Or:

5.22pm – Get on the train at Snow Hill.
5.35pm – Arrive at Solihull station and get in car to drive home.
5.45pm – Arrive at home.

Given the weather I prefer the ride at the moment I have to admit.

Now admittedly I haven’t used a bus for years but yesterday I wished I was on one as they flew past me at a much quicker rate in the designated bus lanes. What an advantage these buses have. Think I might get one of those Swift cards, the West Midlands answer to Oyster.

I suppose my point yet again is, if like me, sitting in the car for hours doesn’t fill you with much joy please consider, at the very least, ditching it and trying public transport instead. The more cars we can get off the road the better. It quite simply can’t go on like this.

For more information on the M6 road closures, click here.