Bus users and motorists could see improved services under long-awaited plans for Blackheath which it is hoped will help increase the number of visitors.
One-way streets and new traffic lights to replace a roundabout are being looked at by bosses at Sandwell Council and Centro.
It is hoped the changes will make life easier for bus passengers and also re-route traffic to reduce congestion. Plans to improve Blackheath town centre have been in the pipeline for years, but funding has never been secured.
No cash has yet been secured but a consultation is hoped to take place, which would put Centro and the local authority in a better position to take advantage of future funding opportunities.
A report to be considered by Sandwell’s cabinet members for highways and environment and jobs and economy states that the council and Centro are working together to develop a scheme to enhance Blackheath town centre by increasing bus reliability, reducing through traffic and improving the quality of the environment.
It says the scheme is also required to improve interchanges between bus services by consolidating bus facilities and creating safer and shorter distances for pedestrians and people with mobility impairments.
The report states: “Blackheath is recognised as an important interchange within Sandwell and congestion and loading problems can impact on bus reliability and timekeeping. Congestion can be caused by a significant amount of traffic that passes through the town centre without stopping. Such traffic could be re-routed onto the Blackheath bypass.”
A potential scheme could involve the creation of a one-way street in Birmingham Road and Long Lane, reversing the direction of flow in Oldbury Road and replacing the central roundabout with traffic signals. Bus stops could then be provided on Birmingham Road and Oldbury Road for all services that pass through Blackheath, thereby improving interchange, the report adds.
At upcoming meetings on September 19 and 23, the cabinet members, Councillor Maria Crompton and Councillor Ian Jones, will both be asked to approve plans for a consultation on the proposed scheme.
Centro spokesman Peter Cameron said: “We have been working closely with Sandwell Council to look at ways to cut congestion and improve bus reliability in Blackheath town centre, while also making it easier for passengers to change between bus services.”