Plans for rapid bus, tram route in works for key Birmingham commuter road

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A busy route connecting Birmingham to other parts of the West Midlands could be undergoing major changes soon

A busy route linking Wolverhampton city centre to Hagley Road, Birmingham via Dudley and Sandwell will be undergoing major changes, West Midlands Combined Authority announced today (August 3).

The A4123 or the Wolverhampton Road runs from the Wolverhampton city centre ring road to Dudley and passes through Oldbury, Coseley and junction 2 of the M5 before meeting Hagley Road West (A456) on the edge of Birmingham.

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The changes include a proposed segregated cycleway and upgraded footpaths to improve safety and provide greater priority at junctions. Bus priority measures will also be installed along the route, allowing for quicker and more reliable bus services and to make them more attractive to commuters to encourage people to switch to public transport.

Options for future development of a rapid bus or tram route on Hagley Road are also being explored to provide quicker links onto Birmingham and other local centres.

The announcement comes just a day after Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) announced Birmingham will soon have 900 Beryl e-scooters and the Mayor of the West Midlands, Transport for West Midlands, West Midlands Police, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Birmingham City Council, and the Mayor’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner have united to tackle road safety in Birmingham.

TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), is using funding from the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement awarded by Government last year to pay for the scheme which, pending business case approvals, will be completed by 2027.

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“We can and must do more to ease congestion”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA Chair, said:“This is a key commuter route through the Black Country and - given how congested it can get at peak times – we can and must do more to ease congestion.

“That’s why we’re investing in cycling and public transport infrastructure to give local people the option to leave their cars at home – reducing traffic jams, improving our air quality and helping tackle the climate emergency.

“We’ve set ambitious targets for increasing cycling and walking but we know that safety fears can act as a barrier. Creating a safe cycleway will make it easier and more convenient for residents to get on their bikes – having fun and boosting their mental and physical health along the way.”

“Longest continuous urban cycling routes”

Adam Tranter, the WMCA’s cycling & walking commissioner, said: “This is a hugely ambitious project which will provide significant connectivity for active travel in the Black Country.

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“When delivered, this cycleway will be one of the longest continuous urban cycling routes in the country giving people new, sustainable, and cost-effective transport options. Connecting with other projects scheduled for delivery, eventually people will be able to cycle, protected from traffic, from Wolverhampton to Birmingham.”

Cllr Peter Hughes, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “This investment in Sandwell to improve walking, cycling and public transport infrastructure as well as tackling congestion along this key transport corridor will not only improve overall transport connectivity but it will support decarbonising transport and changing travel behaviour as well as supporting other environmental benefits for our residents.”

Part of the new cycleway in Sandwell (Photo - WMCA)Part of the new cycleway in Sandwell (Photo - WMCA)
Part of the new cycleway in Sandwell (Photo - WMCA)

What is the timeline of the project?

The outline business case is under development and the Black Country Partnership, made up of local councils, is now designing and developing plans and options for the project. This will be followed by engagement with stakeholders and the public in the next few months giving them the opportunity to see the plans and express their views.

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