M54 to M6 – Cutting commuter times
Commuters travelling through the Midlands are set to benefit from a new multi-million-pound route linking the M54 to the M6.
The new route will slash up to 30 minutes off of journeys for regular commuters each week. It promises to take around 22,000 vehicles a day from the A460, making that major road less congested. It will also ease congestion on the A449 and A5 by separating local traffic from long-distance and commuter traffic, and overall the impact on congestion will boost the regional economy.
The route was chosen after a consultation that saw nearly three quarters of respondents give it the thumbs up.
Project Manager Andrew Kelly said: “We want to provide a road that works for both drivers and the local community living nearby. We were really pleased to have so much feedback during the consultation and this route was the clear winner. Once completed, it will also relieve traffic congestion on the A460, A449 and A5, improve safety and support economic growth for the Midlands.”
Currently, the M54 merges with the M6 southbound at junction 10a. This means northbound road users must leave the motorway network and take other routes to connect with the M6 north at junction 11 or 12 or the toll road at junction T8 to continue their journey.
The A460 currently carries about 26,500 vehicles each day with heavy goods vehicles making up about 10 per cent of this figure.
Highways England consulted on three options for a new route, and will now take forward its preferred route, which is based on ‘Option B West’. This option is the shortest route, providing the best journey time of the options and could save regular commuters around 30 minutes a week.
Once complete, the new route will include:
- A two-lane dual carriageway link road between M54 junction 1 and M6 junction 11.
- An improved junction arrangement at M54 junction 1 and M6 junction 11.
The scheme will also support local economic growth for Telford, Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton, Cannock and Tamworth by enhancing east-west and north-south routes.
Sub-national Transport Body Midlands Connect supports the link road.
Midlands Connect’s Maria Machancoses said: “This project is a potential game changer for the Midlands motorway network; it will make both long distance and short journeys quicker and less congested, as well as support ambitious economic growth plans for the region. Motorists, the logistics industry and businesses will all benefit, and Midlands Connect is calling for the earliest feasible construction.
“The link road is also vital to the success of Midlands Connect’s own long term Midlands Motorway Hub strategy, helping to make sure that east-west and north-south journeys are improved, benefiting not only the region, but the country as a whole.
“The link road is a top priority for partners from across the region including Telford & Wrekin, Staffordshire, Birmingham, the Black Country and Shropshire. We will continue to work with them and Highways England as these plans progress, ensuring our road networks serves the future needs of businesses and people in the Midlands.”
Further work including completing surveys and investigation work to help design the scheme in greater detail will also be undertaken. There will be a further consultation in 2019 where further views on a more detailed design before applying for a Development Consent Order which is part of the planning process for the new route, will be sought.
Those wishing to find out more about the scheme can attend a series of public exhibitions – full details are available on https://highwaysengland.co.uk/projects/m54-to-m6m6-toll-link-road/