Upgrade plans for A50/A500 corridor revealed which could create 12,000 jobs

Regional transport body Midlands Connect has released its plans to upgrade the 90km long A50/A500 corridor.

Targeted at reducing congestion and promoting greener transport use, the ‘Levelling-up Stoke, Staffordshire, Derby & Derbyshire: The ‘road to success’ plan could add £12bn to the Midlands economy and create 12,000 jobs.

Research from Midlands Connects says 60,000 to 90,000 drives are passing along the route every day and drivers are losing 37 minutes every weekday due to congestion on this route.

The route which links Derby, Nottingham and Leicester to Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire and the North-West is relied upon by major manufacturers like JCB, Rolls-Royce, Toyota and Alstom to keep the firms moving.

Sir John Peace, Chair of Midlands Connect said: “This report released today outlines why upgrades to the A50/A500 manufacturing corridor are crucial both to keep international markets open after Brexit and to reduce emissions by enabling more direct and efficient journeys.

“A key location for manufacturing and industrial activity due to its fantastic links with major UK cities and local supply chains, the corridor is home to industry-leading businesses including JCB, Toyota, Rolls Royce and Alstom, and will soon link the new HS2 hubs at Crewe and Stoke-on-Trent with the planned freeport close to East Midlands Airport.”

Suggested improvements on the Western Section (Stoke-on-Trent) include developing the M6 J15 to facilitate a better flow of traffic. In addition, plans involve changing the roundabout at Sideway and lanes at the junction alongside the signalling at the junction which causes congestion. Technology-led enhancements will also be made to improve the reliability and safety of the M6 between Junctions 15 and 16.

At the Central Section that runs from the A50/A38 Toyota junction to Blythe Bridge, Staffordshire, Midlands Connect would create a grade-separated junction to keep conflicting traffic flows apart, usually by means of a bridge or tunnel, in Uttoxeter. Slips roads would be added to provide access. There would also be improvements made to existing roundabouts at Sudbury and Blythe Bridge to increase road capacity.

From the M1 to the A50/A38 Toyota junction (Eastern Section) plans include increasing capacity, safety and general operation. This has been recommended as an immediate priority when funding is accessed. Midlands Connect also proposes to widen the A50 south of Derby between Junction 2 for the A6 at Chellaston and Junction 3 for the A514 near Aston-on-Trent. There will also be a new link road built between the A50 (near junction 1) and A42 (near junction 14, Breedon-on-the-Hill).

MP for Burton and Uttoxeter Kate Griffiths said: “These improvements to the A50/A500 are vital for local infrastructure to drive future growth and better connectivity for residents.

“Midlands Connect’s suggested strategy to upgrade this road corridor will make it easier for multinational businesses in constituencies along the corridor to trade, import and export, as well as opening up new opportunities for employment.”

Mark Turner, Chief Operating Officer at JCB said: “Like many other big employers based along the A50 corridor, we at JCB want to see continued investment and growth, helping to make the A50 more resilient, accessible and reliable 365 days a year.

“We support Midlands Connect’s proposals for improvement, which would work to harness the potential of the North Midlands manufacturing corridor.”