§ Mr. Alton
asked the Minister of Transport what was the original estimate for traffic on the M45 on which the decision to construct the motorway was taken; how this esimate compares with current traffic flows; on what basis this estimate was made; and what are the reasons for the difference between the estimated and actual flows.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
The M45 motorway was built in 1958–59 to carry a predicted 8,300 vehicles per day in 1960. This estimate was based on vehicle counts and roadside interviews mainly carried out in 1955–56. In 1960 M45 linked M1 to a length of A45 giving an almost completely dual carriageway route to the outskirts of Birmingham. The counted daily traffic flow in 1960 was 7,500 vehicles, in 1971 it was 18,500 vehicles and in 1979 it was 6,000 vehicles. Between 1960 and 1972 the M45 motorway served its original purpose as a main route between London, the industrial534W West Midlands and the North-West but it now serves a more limited traffic into Coventry and Warwickshire. The difference between the estimate for 1960 and the latest count taken in 1979 is largely due to the existence of the M6 further north which since 1972 has provided a more attractive alternative for London-Birmingham North-West traffic.