The cost of maintaining and repairing Birmingham's Spaghetti Junction is set to more than double during the next 12 months to £3.7 million.

Highways Agency bosses paid out £1.8 million for extensive repairs on the 36-year-old junction during 2006-07.

Yesterday it was revealed that during 2008-09 the cost to taxpayers is likely to amount to £3,703,378.

The agency insisted the budget leap was due to a "scheduled structural repair contract" which, if finalised, will last about 12 months and will focus on working under-neath the structure, which will lead to some delays on local roads.

But Tyburn councillor, Lynda Clinton (Labour), whose constituents are some of the closest to the junction, said: "If it is anything like the closures we had at Christmas it will be chaos. I have said before that if it is needed, it should be shut completely for work instead of the dribs and drabs that has been going on.

"The big increase in budget is a big concern for us because it sounds like a lot of work is planned."

A Highways Agency spokeswoman said: "The project has been in the planning stages for the last 12 to 18 months. The stilted sections of carriageway in the Midlands are now virtually on a rolling repair work schedule.

"This work is not absolutely certain yet, but if all the money is secured it will last around 12 months and will begin in the new financial year after April. Motorists using the M6 will not be affected, but there may be some impact on Birmingham roads and around Salford Circus." ..SUPL: