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Black Country bus routes set to benefit from four-month roadworks project starting next week

Four months of roadworks designed to help buses linking the Black Country and Birmingham are due to start next week.

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Bus routes 50, 82 and 87, which connect the likes of Dudley, Oldbury and Tividale with Birmingham, are among those due to benefit from the work in Moseley.

Further city centre works are also planned to take place from June to October, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) has announced.

Improvements to bus lanes and junctions on Alcester Road just past Moseley Village will begin on Monday, February 27, as part of ongoing £30 million upgrade plans.

The works will affect the stretch between Park Road, near the Tipu Sultan Majestic Dining restaurant, and Highgate Middleway.

From June, bus priority measures will be implemented in Margaret Street, Newhall Street, Summer Hill and Snow Hill Queensway in the City Centre.

These are expected to be completed by October and consultation on all of the works was undertaken in 2019 with £24 million of the funding coming from the Department for Transport.

The measures are intended to allow buses following the A435 and A457, to cut through the traffic congestion and improve reliability.

Chiefs also hope they will also contribute to improving air quality and reaching the region’s 2041 net-zero target.

The news comes after significant disruption across bus services both in the region and the UK as a driver shortage and declining passenger numbers have hit the industry.

The WMCA revealed last week it is conducting a ‘bus franchising assessment’ between now and 2024 to consider taking the region’s buses back under public control for the first time since 1986 when services were deregulated.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair, said: “These works are part of our ongoing investment into improving bus services here in the West Midlands.

“We’ve already introduced a fare freeze to help with cost-of-living pressures, are working to simplify fares and are assisting operators with their efforts to renew their bus fleets including with zero-emission electric and hydrogen powered vehicles.

“Now, on Alcester Road in partnership with Birmingham City Council, we’re introducing new bus lanes and priority junctions to improve service reliability and journey times.

“This is just one recent example of our plans to develop many more priority bus routes in the months and years ahead as part of our unprecedented £1.3 billion investment in our transport network.”

Councillor Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Anyone who uses the Alcester Road at busy times will understand the need to encourage more people to swap their private cars for more sustainable public transport. Not only to cut traffic congestion but also to improve air quality and cut our carbon emissions.

“That is why we are not only reopening the Camp Hill Railway line to passengers, but investing in bus lanes and priority measures. This work will allow our buses to cut through the traffic, making them a more reliable alternative to the car.”