Traffic warning as work on bus lanes in Birmingham to start early as roads are closed for HS2 construction

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) is urging residents to plan ahead as work on the new bus lanes is due to start at the beginning of 2024 with the road closures commencing from March
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Plans to install bus lanes on a busy east Birmingham commuter route have been brought forward to keep services running smoothly during major long-term road closures to make way for HS2.

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), has accelerated plans for the installation of dedicated bus lanes on Washwood Heath Road to support several popular bus services.

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The accelerated opening of the bus lanes comes as two road bridges crossing existing rail lines are being replaced and upgraded as part of the High-Speed Rail (HS2) project.

Aston Church Road is set to close from the end of March 2024. Once this work is complete, Saltley Viaduct will then close to allow its replacement.  Work on the bus lanes is expected to begin early in 2024 and will be completed ahead of the Aston Church Road closure at the end of March. Residents, businesses, and commuters in the Washwood Heath Road area are being urged to plan ahead.

TfWM said: “It is one of a wider range of cross-city bus route improvements being planned to improve connections and help link communities across Birmingham city centre and the surrounding suburbs.  

“These include the installation of bus lanes, adjustments to junctions, traffic signals, parking, and bus stops, which will enable buses to bypass traffic jams and provide more reliable and faster journey times.”

Birmingham bus laneBirmingham bus lane
Birmingham bus lane

Are there other improvements to bus routes in Birmingham?

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The cross-city bus routes are part of the region’s Bus Service Improvement Plan and are funded from a £70 million allocation from the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) awarded by the Department for Transport to the WMCA.

Following the introduction of similar bus priority measures on the A34 and A45 last year Transport for West Midlands has reported that 82% of bus passengers surveyed along the A34 noticed improvements in journey times and reliability.

Combined with a commitment to introduce additional zero-emission buses, TfWM says these initiatives will both improve reliability of bus services and play a vital role in delivering a more connected and integrated public transportation network. 

It added that making buses a more attractive alternative to the car will also contribute towards the region’s #WM2041 plan to become carbon-neutral within the next two decades. TfWM said that it will also make future improvements on more cross-city routes covering:

  • Dudley and Druids Heath via the A457 (Dudley Road) and A435 (Alcester Road)
  • Longbridge and Hamstead via A441 (Pershore Road) and B4124
  • Longbridge and Castle Vale via the A38 (Bristol Road & Tyburn Road)
  • West Bromwich and Chelmsley Wood via A41 Soho Road and B4128 (Bordesley Green & The Meadway) and
  • Bartley Green and Chelmsley Wood via the B4124 (Harborne Road) and B4114 (Washwood Heath Road).

ProposedBirmingham Cross City Bus routes from TfWMProposedBirmingham Cross City Bus routes from TfWM
ProposedBirmingham Cross City Bus routes from TfWM
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It said that significant progress has already been made on the Druids Heath to Dudley route, benefiting the 50, 82, and 87 bus services across Birmingham, Sandwell, and Dudley.

Bus lanes and bus priority upgrades on the Alcester Road have been completed, and work on the bus priority measures on the Summer Hill section of the route between the A4540 ring road and Edward Street in Birmingham city centre is due to take place between January and March 2024.  

'Passengers on the 94, 95 and 14 services will enjoy improved journes sooner'

Pete Bond, Director of Integrated Transport at TfWM, reassures, “This expedited installation is part of our long-term project to improve the reliability and efficiency of bus services in Birmingham, ensuring minimal disruption to passengers during the closure of Aston Church Road and Saltley Viaduct.

“Early delivery means that passengers on the 94, 95 and 14 services will enjoy the benefits of improved journeys sooner and disruption will be kept to a minimum.”

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Ed Rickard, Network Director for National Express UK, adds, “In partnership with TfWM, we are committed to driving improvements in bus services for our existing loyal customers and to encourage new customers to consider ditching their cars and switching to more sustainable travel choices.

“These bus priority measures, alongside our great value fares and investment in cleaner vehicles, will make bus travel even more attractive by supporting reliable and quicker journey times.

“It’s worth remembering that a double decker bus can take up to 75 cars off the road, which helps make our bus services more efficient due to reductions in congestion. This also, crucially, makes our roads safer and the air cleaner for everyone to breathe.”

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