Plans are in place to connect the M54 to the M5 with a brand new motorway. Given the name ‘Western Strategic Route’, the new road will join Shropshire’s only motorway with the M5 at junction 4a.
Midlands Connect have described the project as ‘the biggest benefit’ in terms of journey times and supporting economic growth. The new road is being put in place to help ease congestion on stretches of the M6 and M5 by one fifth. Midlands Connect have also spoken about the possibility of connecting up to 45,000 homes in garden villages.
While most commuters will agree that traffic is a rising issue in the Midlands, some people aren’t happy due to the environmental burden this project will cause. The new motorway will pass Codsall, Codsall Wood, Perton, Pattingham, Wombourne, Dudley, Stourbridge and Kidderminster. Travelling through the heart of South Staffordshire’s green belt, there are fears that the proposed motorway will cause irreversible environmental damage to unblemished and cherished countryside.
(Image Source: Express & Star)
Richards Worrall, a Walsall Councillor said: “From my point of view, I think that if you want to ease the burden of traffic you really need people to use other means of transport. I’m not sure building more motorways is the answer. There needs to be a balance.”
Jeremy Bloom, Network Planning Director from Highways England said: “We recognise that the network in the Midlands suffers from extensive congestion and agree that a vision for the future will help us to develop an investment strategy that solves the problems over the longer term.
"Clearly this won’t happen overnight but this report provides us with the foundation to plan improvements over the next two decades. We are committed to working closely with Midlands Connect to make this a reality.”
Greg Saunderson, Project Manager at Chapter 8 Shop, shared his thoughts on the Western Strategic Route: “Change is good and I believe once the link is operational there will be more benefits to the surrounding areas than disadvantages. On a safety aspect there will be a huge amount of highway construction activity throughout the project in all seasons and I hope with the help of chapter 8 guidelines it reduces the risk of any potential accidents”.
While the plans have not yet been approved and finalised, they have been taken forward for further consideration.