Could western orbital Major report proposes Black Country M-way bypass –
ANEW ‘western orbital’ motorway to bypass the Black Country and ease continuous jams is among congestion-busting plans for the region’s road network.
The 20-year vision for the motorway network around Birmingham also includes more park and ride schemes and better information to help drivers avoid jams.
The western orbital link would stretch from the M5 near Bromsgrove to the M6 and M54 junction north of Wolverhampton.
It would cut traffic travelling through the Black Country by about 20 per cent, easing both congestion and cutting pollution.
Although not the first time such a route has been proposed, its inclusion in the new Motorway Hub Strategy from regional transport group Midlands Connect means it is now firmly on the political agenda.
The strategy says the Western Orbital would also encourage the development of 45,000 badly-needed homes in the Black Country.
But it has been criticised as a ‘dinosaur scheme’ by Birmingham Friends of the Earth.
They argue that building more roads on green belt land is not the answer to the region’s transport problems and that money would be better spent on public transport alternatives.
Midlands Connect wants to carry out a detailed study into the proposed route and, if the business case stacks up, seek Government funding and backing.
The strategy says that the proposals would improve the reliability of journeys by road and boost the region’s economy and help deliver 50,000 new jobs.
A further major proposal is to upgrade the A46 corridor route from Tewkesbury to Leicester and beyond into an expressway of two or three lanes, to speed up journey times and divert traffic away from the M42.
In a short-term plan, transport bosses want improved signs directing drivers towards the M6 Toll road during peak times or during major accidents on the M6.
Midlands Connect director Maria Machancoses said: “This long term plan shows the Midlands needs a strategic solution for its road network, not a quick fix.
“There is no ‘silver bullet’ solution to fixing congestion; the recommendations outlined in this report are a bold statement of intent as to what is required to make the Midlands’ motorway network fit for purpose.
“The Midlands is at the centre of the UK and when it comes to a standstill, the whole country suffers.
“We have always said that whatever benefits our regional economy will benefit the wider UK economy too. As a region, we need to bring together the East and West Mid-