Hell on the highways as more roadworks loom for the Black Country
Drivers in the Black Country are set to face more roadworks misery over the coming weeks.
Roads will continue to be dug up in and out of Wolverhampton later this month, while in Sandwell and Dudley motorists will be hit by delays into Blackheath starting from next week.
The A4123 Birmingham New Road will close to motorists for two weeks from September 25 in the Lanesfield area as work is carried out to resurface the road.
It is currently part of a diversion route in and out of the city as the A41 Bilston Road remains closed to inbound traffic.
The resurfacing work will continue until October 9 and will take place from 8pm to 5am during weekdays.
Signs have already been put in place by the council, warning motorists of the works and potential delays.
Already drivers looking to enter the city centre have to battle against lane restrictions to cross the St George’s tram stop and Piper’s Row.
An increase in traffic particularly during peak times has been reported for those travelling into the city via the A4123, with the city’s main roundabout often congested.
Councillor Wendy Thompson, leader of the Conservative party in Wolverhampton said: “It is absolute madness. The resurfacing works can wait, certainly until the Bilston Road works are done.
“It is immensely frustrating. Not only does it seem nonsensical that these resurfacing works are to take place at the same time as the Bilston Road works, but the worst thing about the Bilston Road works is that during peak times when the traffic is at its most congested, no work seems to be being done.
“The council should call off the resurfacing works until the other works are complete. It’s not as if the road is going to be clear from 8pm to 5am, people will be working shifts and travelling on that roads at all times.”
A City of Wolverhampton Council spokesman said: “It is vital to our local economy that we maintain our key city gateways to the highest standards.
“By carrying out the resurfacing works overnight we are doing everything we can to lessen the impact on the surrounding area.
“We apologise for any inconvenience in advance and will ensure disruption is kept to a minimum.”
Meanwhile in Dudley, ‘traffic chaos’ is expected for up to four weeks when a major route into Blackheath is resurfaced.
Council bosses say work will be carried out on Long Lane, Halesowen, from near The Stag and Three Horseshoes pub to Shell Corner from Tuesday. It will see stop/start signs used which will limit the speed of traffic. Officials stress that it is important that the main route is resurfaced, with disruption aimed to be kept to a minimum.
However, Councillor Stuart Henley, who represents the Halesowen North Ward, said that the works would cause ‘chaos’ but were ‘much-needed’.
He said: “This work is needed to be done because of the road surface and potholes.
“It will cause chaos but I just hope that disruption is kept to a minimum.”
However, Sandwell Cycles owner, Peter Wilson, based on Long Lane, said that he fears the work will cause him to lose custom.
He said: “It is a struggle for us small businesses as it is. I only received a letter on Thursday and now it means the people will not be able to get to my shop. It will have a knock on effect for everyone involved. I don’t know how this will work but it will be traffic chaos.” The second stretch of Long Lane from Shell Corner to Blackheath will see the same work carried out in the New Year.
Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for environmental services, said: “We are planning to resurface this important stretch of road, in two phases, with the first running from Halesowen Road to Shell Corner (Maple Road) from September 19. That is expected to be completed by October 5 and work will be carried out between 9.30am and 3pm to minimise the disruption for motorists as much as possible. Phase two is expected to get underway in the New Year.”
Residents have also taken to social media to express concern over the decision.
Motorists have been hit by delays across the region in long-standing roadworks hitting parts of the motorway network.
The M5 roadworks misery spread to the roads in Sandwell earlier this summer - with a series of closures planned as part of the long-running motorway works.
The controversial scheme between junctions one and two, for West Bromwich and Oldbury, has caused major disruption over the last few months.
Repairs are being made to the crumbling Oldbury viaduct, with disruption expected until the end of 2018.
The speed limit has been cut to 30mph and traffic filtered into two lanes running in either direction.
Elsewhere, Midland Metro work has slowed down Wolverhampton city centre
People travelling out of Wolverhampton city centre and along Pipers Row say work on the Midland Metro line is adding up to half an hour to their already long peak-time journeys.
The delays are the latest impact of Midland Metro line works along the Row which are due to continue until December 23.