Walsall road layouts changed as work on controversial bus scheme nears competition

A raft of new Walsall road layouts have come into effect over the weekend as works on a controversial new bus scheme near completion.

Roadworks for the Sprint Bus Scheme taking place on Ablewell Street, Walsall. PIC: Ran Sohal.
Roadworks for the Sprint Bus Scheme taking place on Ablewell Street, Walsall. PIC: Ran Sohal.

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) confirmed changes to layouts around Ablewell Street, Bridge Street, Upper Rushall Street, Lower Rushall Street and Town Hill, which started on Sunday.

The works currently being carried out are part of Phase One of the Sprint, which is a bus priority corridor joining the A34 with the A45 to create one route from Walsall, Birmingham City Centre, the airport and Solihull.

TfWM said the bus lane in Ablewell Street is almost complete and all the works around the area are anticipated to be completed by June.

The road changes are:

  • Traffic from Lower Rushall Street will now be able to go straight across into Upper Rushall Street, which becomes a two-way road.

  • A new right turn from Bridge Street into Upper Rushall Street is introduced.

  • The new bus lane in Ablewell Street will be a contra-flow system to allow buses to travel both ways.

  • Taxis, cyclists and motorcyclists can use the contra-flow system but, for all other traffic, Ablewell Street remains one-way travelling away from Bridge Street.

  • Traffic will no longer be allowed to turn right into Town Hill from Ablewell Street.

  • Drivers can still turn right into Upper Rushall Street from Town Hall but it will now be a two way road.

A spokesman for TfWM said: “Work on Sprint phase one is nearing completion across the region – this will speed up journey times for all bus services.

“Later this summer there will be formal consultation on phase two ahead of further works during 2023 and the introduction of the region’s first cross-city bus service.”

But the project has come in for strong criticism from businesses, residents and Walsall councillors, who criticised poor work and delays to the works leading to calls for compensation.

Ran Sohal, who runs the long-standing Shimla Peppers restaurant, said the scheme had resulted in him losing around £30,000 in lost revenue.

People living on Birmingham Road have also been holding regular protests about the potential loss of trees on the busy route in Phase Two of the scheme.

At a scrutiny committee meeting last month, TfWM officers admitted there had been issues with contractors during Phase One which were being resolved.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News