HOMEOWNERS below one of the country's most notorious interchanges have insisted they love it – despite the noise and dirt.
People whose properties are just yards from Birmingham's so-called “Spaghetti Junction” are showing a brave face.
They have revealed how they suffer daily from noise and pollution from the pounding traffic on major motorways such as the M5 and M6.
But it also seems to offer benefits – including its own reputed ‘beach', despite being Britain's most inland city.
Gravelly Hill Interchange is Britain's busiest motorway junction – and one of the country's most iconic concrete structures.
More than 200,000 vehicles are on the road every day on the winding labyrinth of streets in England's second largest city, Birmingham.
It even features in the Guinness Book of World Records as “the most complex interchange in the UK road system”.
Still, the neighborhoods lie below the five tiers of freeway lanes — and locals below the overpass insist they're ok with that.
There are complaints of early-morning wake-ups from car horns, emergency services sirens and speeding racers.
Dirt and dust also spatter surrounding gardens, cars and homes, yet residents say they enjoy living next to such a landmark.
Father-of-one Brian Thomas, 45, said he found traffic noise soothing and joked about a nearby “beach” – a pile of industrial sand next to a neighboring canal.
He said: “I don't mind, I find the traffic quite calming. You get used to it and the transport links are good as you can imagine.”
“We also have our own beach, so to speak – what more could you ask for?
“It's a nationally recognized landmark – I'm kind of proud to live near here.”
Local business owner Aqeel Naeem, 35, who runs an electrical appliance repair shop, said the roads are not a problem for him.
He said, “It doesn't bother me — I actually enjoy it, otherwise it gets quiet.”
“For the most part, the road is very busy with people wanting to take the freeway – it can get quite dusty.”
But he sees it positively, adding, “One good thing is that you can tell someone the direction of the company – it serves as a landmark.”
Mum-of-two Meeka, a 33-year-old NHS worker, admits she was initially “disturbed” by living so close together – although her home's triple glazing helps.
She said: “All I hear is the trucks honking or when an ambulance drives by.”
“It's not all the time, it doesn't bother me that much now.”
“I don't think about pollution at all. There's a patch of forest, so there's a section that absorbs the noise.”
Still others complain of disruption from the junction linking the M6 with the A38M, which runs into the heart of Birmingham, as well as links to other motorways such as the M5.
Mark McKinley, who has lived on Copeley Hill next to Spaghetti Junction for six years, described it as a “hodgepodge”.
The father-of-two added: “Noise can be an issue in the evenings – it's more of an issue when the race starts in the evening. There have been a few accidents.”
“We get a lot of dirt from traffic – I have a brand new car and I have to clean it every day.”
“The amount of dust and trash that comes out is ridiculous.”
And he said congestion is at its worst when nearby Premier League football club Aston Villa have home games, saying: “People park here, they put cars everywhere.”
Another resident said she's moving because she lives at what was once considered “the most stressful crossroads in the world.”
She said: “The noise bothers me – it's too loud and it bothers me all the time so I want to see if I can escape.”
Spaghetti Junction opened in 1972, taking four years to complete and costing £10 million.
It features 559 concrete pillars – about 80 feet tall – and is reinforced with 13,000 tons of steel while covering an area of 30 acres.
Birmingham is dubbed the ‘Venice of the North' for its waterways, with even more canals than the famous Italian resort.
Spaghetti Junction might elicit a groan from motorists, but it didn't make it into a recent list of the world's most stressful transport hubs.
Elsewhere in Birmingham, residents of Britain's “most polluted” estate have revealed the air is so toxic that plants die within hours and yet they don't want to leave.
But locals who live in a posh part of the city say new developments are springing up all the time and they don't fit into the landscape.
Further north, homeowners in Greater Manchester say their lives have been ruined by nightmarish noise after what they call Britain's busiest road was built next door.
Complaints have also been made by a father who lives under the M4 motorway in Port Talbot, Wales – although his wife says she is fine.
But another family living below the same stretch shared how they actually find the noise soothing.