AN ACTION plan to tackle congestion in Coventry, Solihull and key main roads throughout the region has been unveiled today by West Midlands mayor Andy Street.
Among his key priorities is ‘a step change in investment in public transport infrastructure to reduce the region’s dependence on cars’.
The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has already secured £4.4 billion from government to improve connections to HS2.
Mr Street says, in the shorter term, work is taking place to tackle congestion hotspots across the region.
To continue this work, Anne Shaw will join the WMCA as director of network resilience.
She will work with Highways England, Network Rail, the Department for Transport, local authorities and other key players to ‘ensure transport construction works are coordinated and congestion tackled.’
This work focuses on the ‘Key Route Network’, a number of important non-motorway roads across the region for which the Mayor has responsibility.
The WMCA recently secured £5.8m of government funding through the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) to tackle congestion at ten locations.
It included £700,000 for a Keeping Coventry Moving scheme to tackle congestion on the city’s main roads; and around £600,000 each in the Solihull borough for improvements under the Solihull Bridge five-year programme and the A34 Stratford Road Growth Corridor.
This investment includes the use of ‘intelligent’ traffic signal technology which will self-adjust to traffic conditions and which will be in operation by next April.
The WMCA says it has also submitted a request for a further £40million to tackle additional congestion hot spots.
Mr Street said: “It is no secret that we have a major issue with congestion in the West Midlands, a situation which is brought into even sharper focus when we have major infrastructure repairs or improvements that require roads and junctions to be closed.
“Clearly, the long-term approach has to involve moving people out of cars and this will require a revolution in investment in rail, buses, trams and cycling.
“But this will take many years to fully deliver. In the meantime, this congestion busting action plan will take simple but effective steps to overcome some of the issues that rightly frustrate commuters.
“The number one point of frustration tends to be a lack of coordination. At times roadworks appear badly planned and poorly communicated and this is sometimes a fair criticism.
“That’s what this action plan will seek to solve immediately as we know future investments in motorway enhancement and HS2 will put even more pressure on the road network.