4:53pm Thursday 20th March 2014
FOUR options to transform Oldbury’s busy Birchley Island with a multi-million pound scheme to cut traffic congestion have gone out to public consultation.
Various proposals have been drawn up by Sandwell Council, including creating a two-way “hamburger” island with the A4123 cutting across it.
The cheapest, option A, involves widening the M5 link and putting traffic lights on all the approach roads at an estimated cost of £10.5 million.
Option B includes the road widening, plus extending the A4123 Wolverhampton Road to go across the roundabout, creating a two-way “hamburger” island, costing £12.7million.
Option C includes Option A plus extending the A4123 Wolverhampton Road to go across the island one-way (northbound) plus a one-way link from the M5 to Churchbridge, costing £14 million.
The final option, D, would see the creation of a £12.9 million traffic junction similar to the one at Burnt Tree.
The plans have been drawn up to ease congestion at peak times when traffic backs up around the island, with queues often blocking the approach roads.
They would also create pedestrian crossings and dedicated cycle routes.
Sandwell Council's cabinet member for jobs and economy Councillor Ian Jones said: “Anyone who drives around the island knows that there can be queues at peak times. This is frustrating and we need to do something about it.
“We're committed to solving this problem if we can get the funding to make some improvements.
“Improvements would cut journey times for drivers, make it easier for cyclists and pedestrians to use the island, and make bus journeys more reliable.”
He said the creation of an underpass or flyover had been ruled out as too expensive and difficult to build because of the electricity sub-station and the motorway viaduct.
Once a preferred option is chosen, a business case will be submitted to the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for inclusion in its Growth Plan submission to the Government.
It will be up to the LEP to decide if the scheme gets the green light once it knows how much money the Government has allocated to its plan.
The council would then apply for planning permission and acquire the land needed, possibly through a compulsory purchase order.
If funding is approved, it is hoped work could start in March 2016.
To see the four options and take part in the consultation, go to www.sandwell.gov.uk/birchleyisland, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0121 569 4261 for details.
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