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£1.8 billion Midland roads improvement plan unveiled

£1.8 billion Midland roads improvement plan unveiled

🕔30.Sep 2015

A £1.8 billion programme to improve the capacity and condition of Midland roads has been unveiled by Highways England and the Department for Transport.

Planned changes include redesigning the M42 junction 6 to improve access to Birmingham Airport and the NEC, and preparing capacity for the new HS2 station and surrounding developments.

A new link road connecting M54, M6 and the M6 Toll will be built, the congested M42 junction 6 will be improved, and junction 10 of the M6 will be enlarged.

The M6 Junction 10 scheme will provide significant additional capacity at the junction, with part funding from the Black Country’s Local Growth Deal, including the replacement of both bridges allowing the widening of the roundabout to 4 lanes, and giving improved access to the Darlaston Enterprise Zone.

A ‘smart’ motorway at the M42/M40 interchange will remove congestion and provide further benefits for access and capacity in the area by converting the hard shoulder into a permanent extra running lane with variable mandatory speed limits to manage traffic speeds and help reduce congestion.

Highways England said the investment will see improvements and repairs along a series of motorways and A roads between now and 2021, “giving road users simpler, faster and more reliable journeys”.

The work is part of the Government’s ‘Road Investment Strategy’ to triple levels of spending on roads by the end of the decade, which was announced last year.

Highways England, the government-owned company which took over responsibility for England’s motorways and major A roads earlier this year, set out its plan for the West Midlands at an event in Birmingham earlier today.

Highlights included:

  • improvements planned for M42 junction 6
  • new smart motorway around the M42/M40 interchange
  • development of a new link road connecting M54, M6 and the M6 Toll
  • new, bigger M6 Junction 10
  • plans to replace roundabouts at A50 Uttoxeter
  • widening of the A500 at Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent
  • new smart motorway between M6 junctions 13 and 15
  • improvements planned for A46 junctions
  • a new smart motorway between junction 2 and 4 of the M6
  • improvement for the A38 Derby junctions
  • widening of the A5 Dodwells to Longshoot at Nuneaton
  • a new smart motorway between junction 23a and 25 of the M1.

Highways England Regional Director, Tim Harbot said:

These new schemes will bring huge improvements to journeys around the Midlands.

The Government has committed record funding to specific transport projects here so the Midlands can act as a transport hub for the entire country. As Highways England, we’re delivering that investment to help to unlock billions for the economy by increasing road capacity, improving the flow of traffic and improving safety and accessibility for all road users.

Roads Minister Andrew Jones said:

Successive Governments have failed to invest the sums necessary in transport. In many parts the system is at capacity. That is why we are committing a record £5.2 billion in total to specific transport projects in the Midlands, so that the region can act as a transport hub for the entire country.

Across the West Midlands, Highways England will spend around £600m on maintenance, including £160m to resurface more than 900 miles of carriageway; £225m for repairing and renewing structures like bridges and viaducts; and £60m to improve vehicle barriers.

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