On this day in auto history - December 9th

Wed 9th Dec 2020

It was on this day in 2003 that the UK’s first toll motorway - a 27 mile stretch of the M6 - was officially opened.

Barriers at toll booths were officially raised after a high-profile ribbon-cutting ceremony was performed by then-Transport Secretary Alistair Darling who hailed the project for giving motorists “more options”.

Costing £2 for cars originally, the M6 Toll road - which cost around £900 million to build and implement in total - gave drivers the choice to bypass the heavily-congested stretch of the M6 between junctions 4 to 11 linking Birmingham with the north.

Though traffic numbers have steadily climbed on the road to an average of just over 50,000 per day, the M6 Toll has never recouped enough revenue to prove profitable, despite rising fees.

In 2017 it was controversially sold off to the same Australian pension fund, IFM, which co-owns Manchester Airport and Anglian Water.