M6 toll road chief 'encouraged' by 35,000 vehicles in first week

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The Independent Online

The man in charge of Britain's first toll motorway said yesterday that he was pleased with traffic numbers in its first full week of operation.

The M6 toll road, which offers motorists a pay-as-you-go alternative to the heavily congested M6 around Birmingham, attracted an average of 34,612 vehicles a day between 14 and 20 December.

This is nearly 20 per cent of the 180,000 vehicles which normally use the M6 each day in the west Midlands.

Tom Fanning, managing director of Midland Expressway Ltd (MEL), which runs the toll road, said: "I have said all along that we expect demand to grow steadily over time, and it's still very early days, but we have already seen a lot of local and through traffic on the road and the uptake is encouraging."

The figures were compiled by Macquarie Infrastructure Group, the Australian-based company which owns 75 per cent of MEL. The figures did not detail what proportion of vehicles were cars, lorries or vans, or the individual daily usage. Cars are charged £2, vans £5 and HGVs £10.

MEL began a phased opening of the road, which cost £900m and runs between Warwickshire and Staffordshire, to local users on 9 December then opened fully on 14 December.