Commuters face St Chad's and Queensway tunnel closure test

Delays There were delays for commuters after Birmingham's A38 tunnels were closed for six weeks

Related Stories

Motorists were caught in congestion on the first full working day after Birmingham's A38 tunnels were closed for six weeks of repairs.

The St Chad's and Queensway tunnels shut on Friday night.

The council said it chose to close them now as traffic was usually up to 20% lighter in the school summer holidays.

Inrix, which monitors traffic levels, said the morning and afternoon rush hours resembled "a fairly average day on days when the schools aren't off".

Steve Mason, from Inrix, added: "Obviously we fully understand it will cause disruption.

"It was busy for a short time between about 4.30 and 5.30 [pm], slightly busier than a normal rush hour, but things are looking much better."

'Virtually no trade'

Earlier, a points problem at Aston meant there were no trains between Birmingham New Street and Walsall.

There were reports of queuing traffic on the A38 Aston Expressway coming into the city, the A38 Aston Road between Dartmouth Circus and Lancaster Circus and at St Chad's Queensway.

Queues also built up on Paradise Circus, the Hagley Road and Harborne Road.

Motorist Rob Knowles Rob Knowles said fears he had about long delays did not materialise

One commuter, Richard Williams, tweeted that it had taken him three hours to get in to work "and I live in Hall Green".

Pritash Patney, who runs a garage on Bristol Street said he had lost a considerable amount of trade.

"We've lost about 75% of our trade and this is going to carry on for six weeks and from what I understand, another six weeks next year.

"How do you cope with this if you're losing that much time with virtually no trade at all?"

During the evening Richard Williams tweeted: "Tunnel closures have added on six hours to my journey today."

But on Holliday Street during the afternoon, cyclist Paul Hyatt, 32, from Dudley, said: "To be honest, I don't usually cycle. I came by bike today because I was expecting delays, but there's been none that I've seen. Everyone seems to be coping well."

Motorist Gavin Tranter, 48, from Edgbaston, said on Broad Street during the afternoon rush hour: "I've been nipping to and from work all day along Broad Street, and there haven't been any problems. A five-minute delay here or there, but nothing out of the ordinary. Just normal delays, really."

Public transport

Chris Perry, the head of operations at West Midlands transport authority Centro, said the day had "gone really well".

He added: "We've noticed a few extra people using the trains which is fantastic and anecdotally there seem to be a few extra people on the buses as well.

"It is about using the bus, the train or the Metro or walking and cycling if you can do that so the highways can be kept clear for those people that really do need to use them."

Birmingham's Chamber of Commerce president has previously warned the closure of the tunnels would cause "chaos".

Steve Brittan said he would "boycott" the city centre while the work was being carried out and urged other drivers to do the same to alleviate congestion problems.

Holliday Street Traffic was building up on Holliday Street during the afternoon rush hour

Along with road diversions, extra measures have been put in place by National Express and Centro to encourage drivers not to come into the city centre.

A 500-space park-and-ride site has been set up at Birmingham City University's Perry Barr campus, extra buses are being put on and three "bike trains" are being set up to allow people to cycle in large groups into the city.

Student Pupul Chatterjee said earlier the park-and-ride site had so far been quiet.

She said it seemed like many people did not know about it.

Birmingham City University student Kim Bui, who was at Walsall's Bescot Stadium railway station during rush hour in the morning, said it was "very quiet".

Speaking at the city's traffic control room, traffic engineer Ian Robinson, said: "We've been using our extensive CCTV network to monitor traffic at the key junctions [and] where appropriate add some 'green time' on to the most congested sections of the network to help cars, buses and taxis move more freely."

Several passengers travelling from the park-and-ride site to the city centre were upset the buses were not stopping in Aston.

'Dreading rush hour'

Motorist Rob Knowles, who usually drives into the city along the M6 and A38 from Bedworth, Warwickshire, said he left home about 30 minutes earlier than usual and used the M42 and A45 instead.

He said the traffic level was "not much worse than normal rush hour".

"I left at 07:30 and it took 55 minutes, and it normally takes me 45 [minutes] to an hour," he told BBC News.

Tunnels closure

Lorry and car going through one of the tunnels

The tunnels, which are 40 years old, will be shut until 2 September.

As part of the repairs, nearly 1,000 new lights will be installed and fire protection added to the walls and ceilings.

Amey, which maintains the city's roads and highways, said about 75,000 vehicles travelled through the tunnels each day.

Spokesman Eddie Fellows added there was a main compound on Curzon Street where materials were kept before being taken to the tunnels area in a convoy.

The council and Amey have set up a website giving details of the closures.

However, Edgbaston councillor Deirdre Alden said on Friday she found out part of Broad Street would also be shut while the work was carried out via a question in a committee meeting.

Ms Alden, a Conservative councillor, said the inbound part of the road between Paradise Circus and the Hyatt Hotel would be shut to cars over the six weeks, although buses and taxis would still be allowed through.

Perry Barr park-and-ride site Pupul Chatterjee said it appeared many people did not know about the park-and-ride site

She said: "I can understand them not wanting Paradise Circus to take any extra traffic, but this is going to make things worse."

A spokeswoman for the city council said the congestion was where it had been predicted and there had been "no major issues".

"The main congestion was right in the city centre by the tunnels... but there was capacity on the middle ring road which is what we've been advising people to use.

"Our message remains the same - stay off the network if you can."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Birmingham & Black Country



15 °C 7 °C

BBC Local Live


    That's all from BBC Local Live. We'll be back with all the latest news, sport, travel and weather in Birmingham and the Black Country from 08:00 tomorrow.

    Chilly night 17:54:

    It will stay dry and mostly clear. This will lead to a chilly night as temperatures quickly fall, bringing the risk of a grass frost to sheltered rural areas.

    On Midlands Today later 17:45: Mary Rhodes Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

    Coming up on Midlands Today at 18:30, concern for community cohesion as a former counter terrorism chief is appointed to investigate an alleged Muslim plot to take over schools in Birmingham. And from Thessalonaki to Wolverhampton, we meet the Greek nurses hoping to fill the staffing shortage in our hospitals.

    Watch: Hospital recruits nurses from Greece 17:36: Midlands Today

    New Cross Hospital, in Wolverhampton, criticised last year for putting patient safety at risk by under-staffing wards, has begun recruiting nurses from Greece.

    Aphrodite Karga
    Speedway 17:26: Richard Wilford BBC WM Sport

    Some of the very best young talent in domestic speedway will be on show tonight at Monmore Green as the Cradley Heathens stage the British under-21 Championship.

    Home hopes lie with Heathens' duo Tom Perry and Nathan Greaves, while a strong Wolves' contingent will be along to cheer on Joe Jacobs and Penkridge-based Ashley Morris.

    We will have all of the racing live from 19:30 on BBC WM's DAB service and online.

    Trojan Horse: Latest updates 17:17: Phil Mackie Reporter, BBC Radio 5 live

    After a day of developments regarding the Trojan Horse investigation, catch up with the latest here.

    Tough life of a reporter 17:07: Midlands Today

    Ben Sidwell's had a tough day compiling this report for us... tune in later to find out why!

    Ben Sidwell pampered
    News on the hour 16:57:

    The news headlines from BBC WM include:

    • The West Midlands Police Chief Constable, Chris Sims, has criticised the decision to appoint a former counter terrorism chief to carry out an investigation into allegations that hard-line Muslims have targeted some schools in Birmingham
    • A surgeon working in Birmingham - accused of branding a patient's liver with his initials - has been allowed to return to work
    • A service of remembrance has taken place at Anfield to remember the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster
    Library of Birmingham lit up orange for Vaisakhi 16:46:

    If you missed it, here's a pic of the Library of Birmingham lit up orange to celebrate the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi, the holiest day in the Sikh faith calendar.

    It was the first time a public building in the UK has been lit up in observance of a Sikh sacred festival, a gesture which pays homage to the collective contribution of Sikhs in the UK.

    Library of Birmingham Vaisakhi
    Travel updates 16:36:

    The latest from BBC Travel News

    M6 - Heavy traffic and one lane closed northbound between J6 A38(M) Aston Expressway and J7, A34 (Great Barr), because of a broken down car.

    M6 - One lane closed on southbound at J8 M5, because of resurfacing work.

    Villa suspensions: No explanation given 16:26:

    Aston Villa have suspended assistant manager Ian Culverhouse and head of football operations Gary Karsa pending an internal investigation, but have not explained why.

    Gordon Cowans and Shay Given have been temporarily promoted to assist manager Paul Lambert, the club said.

    Villa staff

    Following the 1-0 defeat by Crystal Palace on Saturday, Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner issued a statement urging players, fans and everyone connected with the club to pull together.

    Prince's Trust helps Nature Reserve 16:17: Stourbridge News

    Praiseworthy young people from the Prince's Trust have been sprucing up the entrance to Saltwells Nature Reserve at Netherton.

    The youngsters have helped install a new kissing gate and fencing while painting the bridge and improving the pathways.

    Cricket: Warks v Sussex 16:07:

    At tea on day 3 at Edgbaston, Sussex are 120 without loss, skipper Ed Joyce unbeaten on 65. The visitors require a further 210 runs to win.

    Earlier today, Warwickshire were all out for 471 with stand-in skipper Ian Bell making 189 not out.

    Ian Bell

    Listen live to the evening session.

    News on the hour 15:58: BBC WM

    The news headlines from BBC WM include:

    • The West Midlands Police Chief Constable, Chris Sims, has criticised the decision to appoint a former counter terrorism chief to carry out an investigation into allegations that hard-line Muslims have targeted some schools in Birmingham
    • A surgeon working in Birmingham - accused of branding a patient's liver with his initials - has been allowed to return to work
    • Police say a man's critically ill after a stabbing in Birmingham last night
    Twins who got hitched on the same day celebrate 40th anniversary 15:51: Birmingham Mail

    It was their big day and identical twins Gillian and Alison naturally said "we do" together.

    According to mum Audrey Humpage her daughters even wore the same dresses and hairstyles at their double wedding - 40 years ago.

    Cricket: Warks v Sussex 15:39:

    Sussex are currently 102/0 in their second innings chasing 330 to win. Earlier today Warwickshire were all out for 471, Ian Bell top scoring with an unbeaten 189.

    Listen live.

    Your views 15:34:

    We've introduced BBC Local Live to bring you the latest news, sport, travel and weather all in one place. Tell us what you think.

    Donation pays for restoration of landscape master's works 15:24: Stourbridge News

    Borough art experts are celebrating a surprise donation for a trio of paintings by a leading British landscape artist.

    Dudley Museum and Art Gallery's collection includes 15 pieces by Sir Alfred East and three paintings are now being restored after a grant from the estate of Henry Johnson, a grandson of the artist.

    Trojan Horse: Government does not suspect terrorism 15:13: Phil Mackie Reporter, BBC Radio 5 live

    Government sources say the appointment of the former chief of the Counter Terror Unit to oversee the Trojan Horse inquiry does not mean the government suspects terrorist links.

    news on the hour 15:00: BBC WM

    The news headlines from BBC WM include:

    Villa suspensions 14:50:

    Following their recent announcement to suspend assistant manager Ian Culverhouse and head of football operations Gary Karsa, Aston Villa has temporarily promoted Gordon Cowans and Shay Given to assist manager Paul Lambert and his coaching staff.

    Cricket: Warks v Sussex 14:45:

    Sussex are 64/0 in their second innings chasing 330 to win. Earlier today Warwickshire were all out for 471, Ian Bell top scoring with an unbeaten 189.

    Listen live.

    On BBC WM this afternoon 14:42: BBC WM

    Danny Kelly's on air til 16:00 and will be talking topless men, shoplifters, launderettes and odd black rings in the sky...

    Villa suspend senior staff 14:34:

    Aston Villa have suspended assistant manager Ian Culverhouse and head of football operations Gary Karsa pending an internal investigation.

    Inspired by the Marathon? 14:23:

    If you were inspired by the London Marathon last weekend and fancy trying a bit of running yourself, there are lots of free, weekly events in the West Midlands.

    runners in Cannon hill park

    Held in parks all over the country, parkrun is a free, timed 5km run, every Saturday at 09:00. Find out where your nearest is.

    New anthem for Black Country's first national day 14:11: Halesowen News

    A new Black Country anthem is set to help people hit the right note during the region's national day celebrations.

    News on the hour 14:01:

    The top story at 14:00:

    West Midlands Police has criticised the appointment of a former counter-terrorism police chief to look into the hardline Muslim schools plot in Birmingham.

    Express and Star and Shropshire Star could cut 76 jobs 13:45:

    Up to 76 jobs could be lost at two Midlands newspapers as their publisher seeks to restructure.

    The Midland News Association (MNA) has started a consultation which could see both the Shropshire Star and the Wolverhampton based Express and Star move to an overnight production.

    Council's leader not "whining" about parking 13:35: Stourbridge News

    Dudley Council's leader has hit back at claims that he has been "whining" about the new owners of Merry Hill's decision to maintain free parking.

    Greek nurses bound for Wolverhampton 13:25: Ben Godfrey BBC Midlands Today

    Coming up on Midlands Today, I'll be bringing you a report from Thessaloniki, as New Cross hospital in Wolverhampton announces it's recruited a number of nurses from Greece.

    Cricket: Warks v Sussex 13:15:

    Warwickshire have been bowled out for 471, with Ian Bell unbeaten on 189. Sussex will need 330 to win.

    Listen live.

    Bless you! 13:06: Caroline Martin BBC WM Presenter

    My producer for the day, Brett, is suffering with hay fever today so we're talking remedies. What works for you? Get in touch if you've got any magic solutions!


    Call 03453 009956 or text us on 81333 and start your message with WM.

    News on the hour 12:56: BBC WM

    The news headlines from BBC WM include:

    Spirit of Sinatra in Solihull 12:46: Adrian Goldberg Presenter, BBC WM

    If you missed the end of my show earlier - you missed a real treat. I was joined by Matthew Long, a local crooner, who's putting on an evening of song and music in Solihull on May 16th to raise funds for the Stroke Association. Matthew just wowed us in the studio by belting out a couple of classic tracks.

    Matthew Long

    Have a listen to Matthew - see why we were so impressed!

    Cricket: Warks v Sussex 12:36: Ed Barlow BBC Local Live

    Warwickshire have passed the 450 mark. Skipper Ian Bell is on 187* and taking the game away from Sussex, who will now need to score more than 300 if they are to win the match. This is now the highest ever disparity between first and second innings' scores for the Bears, beating a record dating back to 1905.

    Latest score: 469/9. Listen live.

    Erdington stabbing: Road closed 12:27:

    Following a stabbing last night, West Midlands Police tweets: Slade Road in #Erdington is likely to remain closed for much of this morning as officers examine scene in daylight:

    Darlaston recycling plant blaze 12:17: Express and Star

    Fire crews were called to a recycling plant in Darlaston yesterday afternoon to tackle a blaze involving 15 tonnes of recycled foam.

    Wolves 'did it for the fans' 12:08:

    Wolves chief executive Jez Moxey says the promoted League One club's major achievement this season has been to win back their fans.

    Wolves celebrate
    news on the hour 12:00: BBC WM

    The news headlines from BBC WM include:

    Trojan Horse: new appointment 'desperately unfortunate' 11:52: Chris Blakemore News editor, BBC WM

    The appointment of the Met Police Counter Terrorism's former chief Peter Clarke has not been well received by West Midlands Police Chief Constable Chris Sims who's said:

    "This is a desperately unfortunate appointment. Peter Clarke has many qualities but people will inevitably draw unwarranted conclusions from his former role as National Co-ordinator for Counter Terrorism.

    "I am a strong supporter of open and inclusive education for all children in Birmingham and across the West Midlands and am committed to the process adopted by Birmingham City Council with educational and social inclusion at its heart."

    Trojan Horse probe headed by ex-Met chief 11:45:

    A former counter-terrorism unit head has been picked to oversee an inquiry into 25 schools in Birmingham over allegations of an alleged hard-line Islamist takeover plot.

    Colmore Circus closes for Birmingham tram works 11:36:

    A busy city centre thoroughfare has closed for three weeks to allow tracks to be laid for Birmingham's tram extension, the operator has said.

    colmore circus birmingham

    The closure at Colmore Circus means buses are unable to stop in the area and are being diverted, Centro said.

    Trojan Horse: Three investigations 11:27: Phil Mackie Reporter, BBC Radio 5 live

    The Department for Education has today announced that the former Met Police Counter Terror chief Peter Clarke will work in Birmingham on the Trojan Horse inquiry.

    We understand from the DfE that Peter Clarke's investigation will run in parallel with the other two investigations already announced already by Birmingham City Council.

    Cricket: Warks v Sussex 11:19:

    Stand-in captain Ian Bell has moved to 152* and Jeetan Patel is on 52* as the Bears look to build on their lead.

    They've just passed 400 in their second innings at Edgbaston - having been skittled for just 87 in their first - and now lead by 258.

    Listen live.

    Your views 11:09:

    Tell us what you think of BBC Local Live. We'd like your feedback about this service.

    News on the hour 11:00:

    The news headlines from BBC WM include:

    • The former chief of the Met Police's Counter Terror unit has been appointed to work in Birmingham on the Trojan Horse inquiry.
    • Police are looking at CCTV footage after a man was stabbed in Birmingham last night.
    • President Obama has traded accusations with Vladimir Putin about pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine during what appears to have been a tense telephone call.
    Trojan Horse: Former Met head appointed 10:56: Phil Mackie Reporter, BBC Radio 5 live

    The DfE has appointed the former Met Police Counter Terror chief Peter Clarke to work in Birmingham on the Trojan Horse inquiry.

    Hillsborough: Wolves remember 10:44:

    Official Wolves tweets: Remembering the 96,their friends and families,and all affected by the tragedy at Hillsborough. @Lfc #ynwa #25years

    Wovles FC remembers Hillsborough
    Bosses approve £30m Wolverhampton A&E centre 10:35: Express and Star

    Bosses at a Black Country hospital have given the go-ahead for a new £30m A&E centre - despite still having to find £10 million of funding.

    Travel latest 10:26:

    The latest from BBC Travel News:

    • M6 - there's a lane closed on the entry slip road southbound at J4, M42 (Coleshill), because of a broken down vehicle
    • A38(M) - an earlier lane closure and slow traffic earlier on A38(M) Aston Expressway inbound in Birmingham between M6 J6, Spaghetti Junction, and A38, Dartmouth Circus, because of an earlier accident.
    Chilly start but warm later 10:16:

    After a chilly start, another fine and dry day will follow, with plenty of prolonged sunshine and only small amounts of cloud. It will also be feeling warm with only a light south to south-easterly breeze.

    On air right now 10:04: BBC WM

    He's on air now and here are just a few of the things Adrian Goldberg is talking about between now and midday.

    To get involved give us a call - 03453 00 99 56 or tweet us.

    Adrian Goldberg
    • News, sport, travel, weather for Tues 15 Apr
    • More updates from 08:00 on Wednesday
    • Listen: BBC WM
    News on the hour 09:54:

    The news headlines from BBC WM include:

    Extremist 'takeovers' in Birmingham schools? 09:41:

    As the Trojan Horse investigation spreads to other cities, with news today that all the governors from a school in Bradford have been sacked, BBC News online looks at how the investigation into alleged Muslim takeovers of certain schools began.

    Trojan Horse
    Live tweeting on transport 09:31:

    Network WM, the group that connects all public transport in the West Midlands, announces: We're now live tweeting to 6pm. We'll try and answer any questions. For more on what NWM does, click

    Trojan Horse: Key developments 09:21: Phil Mackie Reporter, BBC Radio 5 live

    Besides the announcement about Ian Kershaw, who'll oversee the Trojan Horse investigation on behalf of the city council, there have been two other important appointments.

    Stephen Rimmer will chair a second group which will include faith groups and figures from local communities affected by the allegations. And the Department for Education has also announced the appointment of its first Commissioner for Schools in the West Midlands.

    Your Pics - Lickey hills 09:06:

    Local photographer Verity Milligan's been at it again and last night snapped this striking shot "Sunstar in the Lickey Hills".

    Lickey Hills

    If you've taken any good pics you can email or tweet us - we'll feature them here on Local Live.

    news on the hour 08:56: Kath Stanczyszyn Journalist, BBC WM

    The news headlines from BBC WM include:

    • As investigations into an alleged Muslim schools plot spread to other parts of the country, BBC WM's found out that at one school in Bradford, every single governor has been sacked.
    • A 24-year-old man's fighting for his life after a stabbing in Birmingham last night.
    • A West Midlands hospital, criticised for putting patient safety at risk in under-staffed wards, is recruiting nurses from Greece.
    Road closed after stabbing 08:53:

    Slade Road in Erdington has been closed in both directions between Fentham Road and Abbey Road as police investigate a stabbing in the area last night.

    Scouts set for Japan trip 08:43: Halesowen News

    Seven explorer scouts from Halesowen have been selected for an adventure of a lifetime to the land of the rising sun.

    WATCH: Trojan Horse latest 08:33:

    An investigation into an alleged hard-line Islamist takeover plot of Birmingham schools has widened, with 25 schools now under the spotlight.

    Park View school

    Birmingham City Council said it has received more than 200 reports in relation to its inquiry.

    Stabbing in Erdington 08:23: Chris Blakemore News editor, BBC WM

    An investigation has been launched following a stabbing in Erdington last night which left a man in hospital with life-threatening injuries.

    Emergency services were called to a report of a disturbance in Slade Road near the junction with St Thomas Road at about 22:50. On arrival they found a 24-year-old man with stab wounds.

    Snap up a slice of Benefits Street – for just £20,000 08:13: Birmingham Mail

    A plot of land, tucked away behind a pair of rusty gates on the notorious Benefits Street, could be yours for a cool £20,000.

    Cricket: Bell finds form 08:04:

    Warwickshire's stand-in skipper Ian Bell struck a timely unbeaten 144 yesterday against Sussex as the Bears - who'd been skittled for just 87 in their first innings - closed day two on 387-7, a lead of 245.

    England fans will also be pleased to hear that beleaguered international captain Alastair Cook also hit a century for Essex in their match against Derbyshire.

    Listen live from 11:00.

    good morning 08:00: Ed Barlow BBC Local Live

    I'll be bringing you news, sport, travel and weather updates throughout the day.

    If you'd like to get in touch you can email, tweet or contact us on Facebook.



Elsewhere on the BBC

  • ConcordeTime for change

    BBC Future looks at the crashes that altered plane designs forever


  • French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier HARDtalk Watch

    French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier on why he uses unconventional models in shows

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.