Car share and lorry-only lanes considered in M6 action plan
Traffic could be stopped from joining the M6 at Junction 9 and lorries restricted to using one lane of the motorway under two ideas being looked at to tackle congestion.
A ‘shared occupancy’ lane on the M6 is also being considered in the Midlands Motorway Hub study by Midlands Connect, which oversees transport, infrastructure and development.
Head of technical programmes, Simon Statham, said the project was aimed improving journey times and road safety, as well as powering economic growth.
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In a presentation to members of the West Midlands Combined Authority Transport Delivery Committee this week, Mr Statham said that he was looking at ideas to improve the flow of the M6 from Junction 3 – which crosses the M42 east of Birmingham– and Junction 11 for Gailey in Staffordshire.
He said: “We have identified things to improve the flow.
“They include restrictions at Junction 9 [for Walsall and Wednesbury] but then we do need to understand the wider impact on the network – what will happen to the surrounding areas?
“Another idea is a HGV lane so they are not overtaking each other on the motorway.
“And we are asking if we can provide space for a high occupancy vehicle lane to get people to car share.”
The final recommendations from the study are passed on to local authorities and Highways England.
As part of it, the group is investigating how to make better use of the M6 Toll and looking at more park and ride schemes.
It says park and ride schemes could be opened at Featherstone, M6 junction 11 and Bloxwich.
The benefits and environmental impact of a new motorway called the Western Strategic Route, from the M5 at Bromsgrove to the M6 at the junction of the M54, around the west of the region.
Sir John Peace, chairman of Midlands Engine and Midlands Connect, said: “One third of all British road freight travels from, through or to the Midlands, so our region suffers more than most from congestion, affecting the national as well as the regional economy.
“That’s why one of Midlands Connect’s main priorities is to make sure investment in improved connectivity helps support businesses that need reliable transport links, particularly SMEs.
Julian Pottinger, Director of Little Pot Travel, a haulage firm based in Oldbury, said: “I’d be interested in seeing more detail on the idea of a Western Strategic Route linking the M5 and M6.
“But I’m glad that Midlands Connect is looking at shorter term, quick wins as well.”