07 November 2018
The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is this week poised to give the green light to a £43m congestion-busting initiative.
WMCA is meeting on Friday to approve the distribution of ten projects to ease some of the worst congestion problems in the region, in a move which has been welcomed by the Chamber.
The projects include a £10m grant to help fund Dudley Interchange, a new £18m bus and metro station in the town.
Another £7m is being earmarked for Birchley Island in Olbury, which is a notorious congestion blackspot next to Junction 2 of the M5.
A grant of £5.8m will go to Coventry to help deal with congestion on the B4106 at Spon End, a key route close to the city centre.
Aside from roads, WMCA is set to spend £6m on cycle routes across the region, £3m on various enhancements at University railway station in Birmingham, and a further £5m on improving pedestrian links between bus, rail and metro services in the city centre.
The various projects will be discussed by the WMCA board on Friday (9 November).
Roger Lawrence, WMCA’s portfolio holder for transport, said: “These are major transport projects and tackle notorious bottlenecks such as Birchley Island in Oldbury and B4106 Spon End road. These projects are all designed to keep the region moving.
“This investment in sustainable transport will benefit commuters, improve air quality and support the wider economic growth of the West Midlands.”
West Midlands mayor Andy Street (pictured) said: “We know that may of our residents face daily frustrations as they travel and commute throughout the West Midlands and improving our transport network is a priority.
“So we have agreed, with our transport and local authority partners, to help fund ten projects from across the whole region, which will make a real difference to residents whether they travel by car, bus, rail or cycle.”
The projects have been welcomed by the Chamber, which has been at the forefront of calls for action on the growing congestion which is hampering the region’s economic revival.
Chamber chief executive Paul Faulkner said: “Analysis from our congestion research revealed that almost two thirds of businesses across the region suffer from congestion related problems which in turn have a detrimental impact on productivity and profitability levels.
“That’s why we have worked closely on the WMCA on this agenda and we are pleased to see that a number of our suggestions have been incorporated into the Mayor’s 10 Point Congestion Plan.
“I would urge the Combined Authority Board to endorse the £43m worth of investment required to move ahead with these projects as it will not only help tackle ingrained traffic problems but also help unlock economic growth across the West Midlands and beyond.”
Five of the projects will be delivered by Transport for West Midlands, part of the WMCA, with the other five being implemented by local councils.
Last year the WMCA was awarded £250 million from the Government’s ‘Transforming Cities’ fund to support sustainable transport.
A further £207 million is also being spent on the Midland Metro extension between Wednesbury and Brierley Hill.