Express & Star

M54 and M6 link road plan could move a step closer

Plans for a new £200 million dual carriageway linking the M54 and M6 could move a step closer later this month.

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While the M54 is linked with the M6 southbound, there's no direct connection for traffic coming to and from the north

The Government's Planning Inspectorate is due to give its recommendation on whether the congestion-busting road, which would carve a path through the South Staffordshire countryside, should go ahead.

The road will connect Junction 1 of the M54 with Junction 11 of the M6, with the aim of taking more traffic off the A460, which it will run close to.

The major project has been in the pipeline for the last few years and, due to its scale and impact, has had to undergo a rigorous planning process before it can be passed.

The examination stage has now closed with a recommendation from the Planning Inspectorate to the Government on whether to give the link road the green light expected before the end of July.

The road will link the M54 with the M6.

It took a major step forward earlier this year when it was given Government backing and included in its £27 billion Road Investment Strategy, suggesting it is likely to get the backing of ministers.

It is expected any work on the new road will not start until 2024 but transport bosses in the region hope the Government's support for the link road could see the project fast-tracked.

The project has not been without challenges, with several changes having been made to the proposals in a bid to appease locals.

They include the realignment of a slip road at M54 Junction 1, moving it further away from Featherstone. A section of the link road will also be made steeper where it passes through woodland to lessen the impact on the area. There had been concerns the road would run to close to Featherstone and Hilton.

Simon Statham, director of technical programmes at Midlands Connect, previously said of the scheme: “This project is a potential game-changer for the Midlands motorway network; it will make both long-distance and short journeys quicker and less congested, improving air quality as well as supporting ambitious economic growth plans for the region.

“It is important that construction gets under way as soon as possible so that road users can start to feel the benefits."