Three options unveiled for new M54 link road to M6
Three options have been unveiled for a new link road from the M54 to the M6 and M6 Toll.
It is hoped that the new scheme will ease traffic congestion and boost economic growth in both Telford and Shrewsbury.
The news has been welcomed by Shropshire Chamber of Commerce, Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski and Councillor Shaun Davies, leader of Telford & Wrekin Council.
Highways England today launched a month-long consultation over the three routes for the motorway, which links Shropshire to the West Midlands.
One proposal, Option B West, is for a new road linking Junction 1 of the M54 to the A4601 Wolverhampton Road, close to the M6 Toll.
The route would also see a new road into Featherstone on the Shropshire border.
The second proposal, Option C West, would widen the existing M54 from junction 1 towards the M6.
The route would then branch off north, following the M6 and going under Hilton Lane and the A460 Cannock Road.
It would eventually connect to the M6 north of junction 11 and to the M6 Toll at junction T8.
The final proposal, Option C East, would also see the widening of the M54 up to the M6, but would branch off earlier than Option C West.
The road would cut through ancient woodland at Burn’s Wood, Spring Coppice and Keeper’s Wood.
It would then also connect to the M6 north of junction 11 and to the M6 Toll at junction T8.
Highways England says Option B West would have the most impact in reducing traffic on the A460 Cannock Road and A449 Stafford Road.
A consultation starts today on the routes with an event at Shareshill Village Hall in Elms Lane from 1pm to 8pm.
A webchat on the consultation will take place at www.highways.gov.uk/m54-to-m6m6-toll-link-road on September 27 from 11am to 2pm.
The consultation will end on October 13.
Currently, the M54 merges with the M6 southbound at junction 10a at Walsall.
This means northbound road users have to leave the motorway network and navigate local A roads in order to connect with the M6 north at junction 11 or 12 or the toll road at junction T8 to continue their journey.
Highways England says the scheme will relieve traffic congestion and support economic growth in Telford, Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton and Cannock.
Andrew Kelly, Highways England project manager, said: “Feedback from our initial consultation told us that further assessment work was needed to meet the needs of our customers.
“We have now identified three modified options and it’s really important that people have their say to help us understand what is important to local communities and all of our customers – whether you are a local resident, driver, cyclist, or walker.”
During a consultation in 2015, 87 per cent of members of the public said a link road was required.
The A460 Cannock Road currently carries about 26,500 vehicles each day with heavy goods vehicles making up about 10 per cent of this figure.
The proposed link road could remove around 22,000 vehicles a day, creating a safer and less congested environment for local road users, say the Highways Agency.
Richard Sheehan, chief executive of Shropshire Chamber of Commerce, said: "Business thrives on connectivity and the ability to engage with its customers.
"Anything we can do to simplify that is a good thing. Improving that bottleneck between the M54 and M6 would be a valuable thing to do. I'm sure there are businesses that will feed positively into the consultation.
"There is another plus to consider, Telford was built on inward investment. We will make ourselves a very attractive place for businesses looking to move into the centre of the country or to businesses looking to set up in the UK with the proposed link road."
The MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, Daniel Kawczynski welcomed news of the consultation and added: "We have lobbied government for many years on this vital investment which will bring economic benefits to Shropshire. I encourage constituents to get involved in consultation process and we will continue to lobby the Government for the funding."
Councillor Shaun Davies, leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, said: “We have been lobbying for this link to be built since the current administration was elected in 2011 so we will be looking at the new options published by Highways England with great interest.
“Currently users of the M54 can only travel southbound onto the m6 and therefore for anyone travelling northbound on the M6 or onto the M6 toll have to use surrounding local roads which are heavily congested.
“When this scheme comes to fruition. it will make Telford and the Marches LEP area more accessible, improving journey times and reducing congestion which has a direct impact on the economy and productivity.
“It will therefore enhance Telford & Wrekin’s attractiveness to secure new business and create jobs as we have the land and the labour supply to attract new business to Telford as evidenced by the recent investment by Magna at T54 and the MOD in Donnington and therefore this project will further strengthen Telford position as a place for businesses to locate.”