£3.4bn transport masterplan aims to ensure West Midlands cashes in on HS2

A transport blueprint that will see £3.4bn of tram extensions, new suburban rail lines, cycle routes and motorway improvements built in the West Midlands over the coming decade has been approved.

The 2026 Delivery Plan for Transport has been agreed by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

Prepared by Transport for West Midlands, the WMCA’s transport arm, the plan is part of the authority’s long-term transport strategy ‘Movement for Growth’ and sets out a high level programme of infrastructure projects up to 2026.

This will be the first delivery phase of a longer term 20-year strategy intended to improve transport and unlock economic growth across the region ahead of the arrival of HS2, which is scheduled to begin services from stations in Birmingham and Birmingham Airport in 2026.

Cllr Roger Lawrence, lead member for transport for the WMCA and leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “The Delivery Plan maps out the way forward for transport in this region in delivering future prosperity.

“Transport is key as we work to ensure the West Midlands punches its weight nationally and globally. HS2 will bring us closer to London and the UK’s other big city regions and make us a world-class place in which to do business.

“Now that this blueprint has been approved we can get to work in putting it into action.”

The blueprint is intended to steer investment into the region to create jobs and homes, building on the growth and development already taking place through HS2.

The final plan was compiled following a six-week public consultation.

Key amongst the responses was a demand for a bigger provision for cycling facilities.

As a result a £165m Strategic and Local Cycle Network Development Programme has been added to existing cycling schemes in the Delivery Plan.

Funding for this new programme is now being pursued.

The strategic programme of schemes is divided into three sections:

• More than £3bn of committed schemes which are wholly or substantially funded

• A pool of potential schemes for which funding will be sought

• A set of longer-term studies and proposed projects

Schemes that will be built over the coming decade include:

Birmingham

• Extending the Midland Metro system to Birmingham Curzon HS2 station in Eastside then through Digbeth and north Solihull to Birmingham Airport/HS2 Interchange

• Improved road junction at congestion hot spots

• New cycle routes

• The Camp Hill Chords railway project to open up new suburban lines for areas such as Castle Vale and Castle Bromwich in the north and Moseley and Kings Heath in the south

Coventry

• A redeveloped Coventry railway station

• Improvements to bottleneck road junctions and a new Key Route Network through the city

• Major improvements to the M6 and the A46

• New cycle routes

Dudley and Sandwell

• Midland Metro tram route between Brierley Hill, Dudley and Wednesbury, connecting to the existing Birmingham-Wolverhampton line

• Improved M5/M6 motorway junctions

• Smart motorways

• New cycle routes

Solihull

• Extending the Midland Metro tram system from Digbeth, through north Solihull to Birmingham Airport/HS2 Interchange

• Improvements to M42 Junction 6 so it is ready for HS2 and the UK Central development

• Improved transport connections between Blythe Valley Business Park, Solihull town centre and the airport/HS2 Interchange station

• New cycle routes

Walsall

• New cycle routes

• Improvements to junctions on the M6

• New heavy rail connection to Wolverhampton, with new stations at Willenhall and James Bridge

Wolverhampton

• Improved transport connections to the i54

• New heavy rail connection to Walsall, with new stations at Willenhall and James Bridge

• Improvements to junctions on the M6

• New cycle routes

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