'Significant disruption' warning over HS2 build
The construction of HS2 could lead to 'significant disruption' on the West Midlands' road networks unless properly managed, politicians and transport leaders have warned.
The region's new Resistance Partnership has been set up to oversee the 'massive operation' of building the new line and stations.
It has vowed to 'carefully manage' the work in a bid to minimise upheaval along the route from London to the West Midlands.
Bosses said they want to see the region 'open for business' and have pledged to 'support growth' during the extended HS2 construction period. The section of the line is expected to open in 2026.
The partnership consists of Transport minister Jesse Norman, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan, HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston and representatives from Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) among others.
It met for the first time last week and warned that there was 'potential for significant disruption' on the motorway and road networks unless the scheme was 'carefully managed'.
Mr Norman said the group was keen to 'minimise disruption from construction works'.
"HS2 will become the backbone of our national rail network, and improve vital connections between eight of the ten biggest cities in our country," he said.
"It will deliver greater capacity for freight and faster journeys for passengers, boosting economic growth.”
Mr Street said: “HS2 will be worth billions to the West Midlands economy once complete but to build it is going to be a massive undertaking.
“We need to establish how we deal with traffic diversion routes and how to keep them flowing, because they will have a critically important part to play during that construction phase.
“That is why it is so important that all the bodies involved come together to plan how best to cause the minimum disruption possible and keep the region moving.”
Work on the line on the line between London and Birmingham is expected to begin in early 2019, with some preparation works in 2018. The first trains are scheduled to run in 2026.
There will be two new stations built in the city – Birmingham Curzon Street and Birmingham Interchange – which will be the largest new stations to be built in the West Midlands since Victorian times.
Phase 2a of HS2 will pass through 45 miles of Staffordshire countryside and is expected to open in 2027.