£1.2m to improve pedestrian and bus routes in Dudley
Work has begun on a £1.2million plan to improve pedestrian and bus routes around Merry Hill shopping centre including a new crossing for shoppers walking to the complex.
The crossing will be controlled with traffic lights and is being installed on Pedmore Road, Brierley Hill.
Dudley Council said yesterday that work on the project, which also includes changes being made to the junction of The Boulevard and Mill Street to improve access for buses, would be completed by Christmas.
The crossing is being created near the spot where 53-year-old taxman Chris Clarke was knocked down as he walked to work at the nearby HM Revenue & Customs at The Waterfront in April last year. His family, who had called for a pedestrian crossing to be installed, has welcomed improvements on the road.
Work at the junction of The Boulevard and Mill Street aims to provide priority to buses to make it easier for them to access and leave the centre. A new segregated signal controlled bus lane and gate will be created.
Cabinet member for transport Councillor Khurshid Ahmed said: "As part of money secured through the Better Bus Area Fund we are working in partnership with Centro on two improvement schemes for pedestrians and cyclists getting to and from Merry Hill.
"We will be introducing a traffic light controlled crossing on Pedmore Road and a bus priority scheme at the junction of The Boulevard and Mill Street in Brierley Hill. Work is expected to be complete before Christmas."
The council received £1.1m from the Government towards the scheme. Bosses have earmarked a further £100,000 from the council's 2014/15 transport fund for the project.
The project follows plans for a new £3m bus station at Merry Hill being shelved last year. Transport bosses feared it would have been too expensive to build and decided not to go-ahead with the scheme.
At the time the council said it hoped to be able to make improvements for bus passengers and pedestrians despite the new station not going ahead.
Under the plans, which were axed in November, a new building would have been built and the number of serving buses increased by 25 per cent.
Although the Merry Hill bus station plan was put on hold, other projects in the Black Country were more successful in getting funding.
Around £1million is being spent on shelter and information improvements on eight key routes into Brierley Hill and the Cradley Heath interchange, next to the town's railway station, will be given a £1.9 million revamp.
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