Thousands of drivers were caught in a hot, slow crawl to work yesterday at the start of months of roadworks around Birmingham.
Traffic inched along many major routes with frustrated drivers sitting in long queues as work began on extensive pot-hole repairs on the M6.
Closure of the M6 slip road at junction 6 into the city centre, Gravelly Hill, meant traffic had to access the city using exits at junction 5 at Castle Bromwich or junction 7 at Great Barr, adding to the already heavily congested Scott Arms crossroads.
And with temperatures already soaring again in the heatwave, both traffic and medical experts issued an urgent "stay sensible, stay cool" warning to commuters.
The roadworks will last almost until Christmas and drivers seeking other routes are expected to cram onto alternative roads in search of easier ways in and out of the city. Traffic heading into the city centre along the M6 was described as "slow but moving," with many drivers apparently heeding advance warnings to either stagger their journeys or take a bus or train.
Junction 6 of the M6 northbound near Spaghetti Junction and junction 9 of the M6 southbound were very busy by 7am. Drivers had to contend with speed restrictions of 40 mph between junctions 6 and 5 in both directions of M6 as well as narrow lanes.
Local roads such as The Collector Road, in Castle Bromwich, the A456 Hagley
Road and A4121 Birmingham New Road southbound at Oldbury were heaving with traffic as workers shifted off the motorways and onto local roads.
Junction 6 of the M6 southbound will close until September, while work on junction 9 of the M6 southbound is due to last for 20 months.
The AA said the initial chaos should ease by September as drivers find different local routes to get to work as essential work is carried out to repair more than 80 pot-holes.
AA spokesman Jon Foxley said: "Local roads will bear the brunt as people who know the area use them.
"As the roadworks have just started people will be trying to find new routes and this will get worse as the roads fill up as people go on holiday.
"We advise people to keep up to date with the traffic by listening to the traffic reports."
Mike Farmer, regional director of the Road Haulage Association, said drivers had no choice but to put up with the misery while the job is being done.
Commuters faced extra misery as the Government issued a health warning over the heatwave in the Midlands as temperatures were expected to soar again.
The Department of Health is advising people, particularly the very young, old and those with chronic diseases, to drink lots of water or fruit juice to prevent dehydration, particularly if they find themselves stuck in jams.