Review urges improvements for key Midlands transport routes

Key road and rail routes from the West Midlands into Wales have been lined up for improvements in a new review.

The line through Shrewsbury has been put forward for improvements in a new review
The line through Shrewsbury has been put forward for improvements in a new review

The Government-commissioned union connectivity review has called for better connections and more trains along the line from Birmingham through Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury and onto Mid Wales.

It also pushed the case for improved "capacity and reliability" on the A5 through Cannock, Telford, Shrewsbury and Oswestry; and highlighted the importance of the long-awaited Pant-Llanymynech bypass for "cross-border connectivity".

The plans – which had been omitted from the review's interim report – have been hailed by transport bosses across the region, who today vowed to ensure "swift progress" so communities can benefit "as soon as possible".

The review was led by Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy, who urged the Government to set up 'UKNet', a strategic network to improve transport links across the UK.

Maria Machancoses CEO of Midlands Connect, said: “It’s fantastic to see Government support vital infrastructure projects that will better connect the Midlands and Wales, improving access to leisure destinations, workplaces and key services.

"As well as welcoming further improvements in rail connectivity between Birmingham, the Black Country, Shropshire and Mid-Wales and Birmingham and Cardiff, the report also highlights the importance of strategic roads such as the A5 and Pant-Llanymynech bypass."

"We will now work internally and alongside partners to ensure swift progress is made in planning these improvements, so that connectivity benefits can be felt by communities as soon as possible.

"If implemented, the projects listed in the review will mean that lives and livelihoods can prosper across administrative borders, and that people can reach the jobs, healthcare and education they need to succeed."

"These links will also benefit businesses, smoothing trade, access to employees and supply chains."

Midlands Connect has joined forces with MPs from across the region in calling for the electrification of the railway line from Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton in a bid to cut journey times and reduce carbon emissions.

Meanwhile Highways England is understood to be working on a preferred route for the Pant-Llanymynech bypass, a project pushed for by former North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the review as an "inspiring vision for the future of transport" and said his cabinet would consider it carefully.

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