A PLAN for a new cycle route on a key route between Smethwick and Birmingham is set to be discussed by councillors.

The new segregated cycle path would run from Soho Way in Smethwick alongside the soon-to-open ‘mega’ Midland Metropolitan University Hospital as part of a wider move to create a direct route from Smethwick to Birmingham city centre.

Sandwell Council’s cabinet has been asked to sign off on the work to allow for designs to be drawn up.

The route would be funded using Sandwell’s share of the government money handed to the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

The ‘growth corridor’ between Smethwick and Birmingham is a key regeneration project by Sandwell Council to improve links to the second city. 

As well as the huge new hospital and teaching campus, hundreds of homes are expected to be built in the coming years.

The A457 is one of the key routes into Birmingham from Sandwell and Dudley but has “little to no” walking or cycling infrastructure, according to Sandwell Council, which results in long queues of cars during peak times.

“Given the significant regeneration proposals for the area and increase in trips to and from development sites, there is a need to improve traffic flow and infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists to encourage more sustainable methods of travel for short journeys within this area,” a report that will be discussed by cabinet at a meeting in Oldbury on January 17 said.

Sandwell Council said it consulted Atkins on plans for a segregated cycle route connecting Soho Way, where another cycle route is being built on a different part of the A457, to form a path between Smethwick High Street and the town’s two railway stations Smethwick Rolfe Street and Smethwick Galton Bridge to Birmingham city centre.

The study focused on the routes along Cranford Street and Grove Lane leading to the borough boundary with Birmingham and adjacent to the new Midland Metropolitan University Hospital.

The consultants have also looked at installing traffic lights at the Grove Lane and Cranford Street junction as well as Cranford Street’s junction with London Street.

The council said that not making any changes to Grove Lane or Cranford Street would result in low walking and cycling use resulting in the loss of health and environmental benefits, more accidents and pollution from congestion and delays for ambulances and other emergency services using the soon-to-open hospital.

The council said it was also concerned that the roads would not be able to cope with the demand as more homes are built in Smethwick and across the rest of Sandwell and Birmingham.

The cabinet meeting will take place on Wednesday January 17 at Sandwell Council House, Oldbury.