THE FIRST stage of a multi-million pound scheme to cut congestion on the A38 through Bromsgrove has been given the green light by Worcestershire County Council.
Twelve ‘pinch points’ have been targeted along the route from Junction 4 of the M5 at Lydiate Ash through to the B4091 at the Hanbury Turn.
The A38 is the main commuter route heading to both Birmingham and Worcester.
The scheme, passed by full council at County Hall, is aimed at encouraging growth by cutting journey times and improving access to development sites.
Work will include widening the carriageway at certain points, lengthening approach lanes, creating new lanes and reconfiguring traffic signals.
The £7.6million Phase One has prioritised work at junctions 4 of the M5, at Barley Mow Lane in Catshill and Junction 1 of the M42.
Work is scheduled to start on the first part – at the Barley Mow Lane junction – in spring 2019.
Highways England said improvements were needed at these motorway junctions due to high the impact traffic has at the moment and the future effect of more housing and employment sites.
Funding for the first stage will come from the Highways England Growth and Housing Fund (£2.7million), the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (£1.3m) and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP (£2.3m).
The remaining £1.3mllion will come from Section 106 funding – cash provided by developers.
Bromsgrove Conservative councillors Rita Dent, Karen May, Kit Taylor and Shirley Webb welcomed the funding, saying they regarded it as the ‘start to addressing the district’s congestion issues’, but also called for more cash for future improvements.
Coun Dent said: “We’ve all put up with hours of the day stuck in traffic on the A38.
“There isn’t a quick fix to the congestion problems but this is a step forward.
“I think we’re all sick to the back teeth in Bromsgrove of the congestion; we welcome this funding as a positive move and are fighting for more.”
Labour Coun Luke Mallett said: “Any infrastructure improvement is welcome but the risk is it is the wrong solution to the wrong problem.
“All the road improvements are happening on the east side of town and all the development is on the west side.
“They should have done a thorough investigation into what could be done to get a western relief road.
“We could have the greatest A38 in the world but the traffic needs to be able to get there to use it.”
On a Western Relief Road, Coun Kit Taylor said: “There is no appetite for the Western Relief Road as all it would do would get traffic into a bottle neck sooner and be an expensive car park to the tune of £80 million.
“The A38 works are positive and a start.”