M6 slip road row: Second protest over closed junction is planned
A second protest is being planned calling for an entry slip road to a motorway junction to be reopened.
Junction 9 of the M6 has been closed since January and drivers have become increasingly frustrated by long tailbacks on connecting roads and neighbouring junctions.
A protest was held in August with a group of around 12 positioning themselves on the closed southbound slip road holding banners and signs.
Frustrated by the lack of progress, residents are now planning a return to the Wednesbury junction to make their voices heard.
Sandwell Councillor Elaine Costigan, who represents Wednesbury North and was at the August protest, said: "It would just be good to have an exact date as to when the slip road will be open again.
"This second protest is being held because of the lack of progress since the last.
"And if the residents are not happy with the progress after that they will just do another and another until the top people listen to them."
The slip road had been due to reopen in June but the closure was then extended until November.
There was further anger when Highways England revealed the slip road is being kept shut because of work it is doing elsewhere. It said the road would remain close to stop adding to congestion on the link road to the M5 if it was open.
It leaves drivers in the Black Country forced to take long detours to get onto the M6 further down, even if they have no intention of joining the M5.
As well as adding extra time to people's trips to work, protestors are concerned the traffic gridlock will lead to safety issues when schools start back, with 2,000 pupils crossing the roads each day.
They are calling for the road to re-open immediately or for Highways England to consider opening the road during peak times to ease traffic issues.
An online petition has been signed by 1,102 people so far.
Valerie Vaz, MP for Walsall South, has voiced her concerns on the matter in the House of Commons.
Councillor Costigan believes protesting on the junction is an effective way to get the message across.
She added: "Where the closure is it is actually on the island. It is the right place for people to see the protest and to use their horns and show their support.
"Unless they tell us they will be opening it in the near future, the protest will go on."
Bosses at Highways England said the slip road was closed to prevent Walsall becoming gridlocked while they repair waterproofing around junction 6 for Spaghetti Junction.
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