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Express & Star comment: No sign of end to M5 misery

By Star Comment | Opinions | Published:

Motorists around the region can be forgiven for burying their heads in their hands in despair at the latest news regarding one of our busiest motorways.

Traffic queues on the M5

The M5 through the West Midlands has been a scene of chaos since a huge repair job on the Oldbury viaduct started two years ago, with drivers faced with long delays at all times of day.

Now it has emerged that the misery is set to go on, with bosses revealing that work is unlikely to finish until the autumn.

Even if that target is met, the scheme will have gone on for a year longer than originally planned.

Anyone who has had the misfortune to travel on this particular stretch of the M5 in recent times will have got used to these constant setbacks.

The £100 million project was first delayed due to the summer heat, before complications arose with the number of repairs required.

Sadly, the Oldbury viaduct project is the latest in a long line of schemes in the West Midlands that up to now, has not gone according to plan.

We have a degree of sympathy for the people behind the job, as it appears that a number of factors affecting the work could not have been predicted.

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And while the region's motorists are faced with many more months of pain, it is important that we look to the future.

To be clear, the completion of these works is crucial for our economy.

While the M5 remains gridlocked, goods are held up, commuters are delayed and commerce in the region crawls along at a snail's pace.

It may seem a long way off now, but once these improvements have been made there is no doubt that the entire West Midlands will benefit.

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Until then, drivers will be forced to endure further disruption. We implore Highways England to be transparent with the public by providing regular updates on the progress of this work.

If anything else goes wrong, drivers must be informed at the earliest possible opportunity.

This scheme simply had to be done. There was no possibility of putting it off, and despite this extra delay, at least the end is now in sight.

That's providing the work doesn't hit yet another snag.

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