Midlands Connect - the transport arm of the Midlands Engine - has requested £596 million from the UK Department of Transport, in a bid to improve the area's transport routes.

Plans for 11 transformational road schemes across the Midlands have been submitted to the government - by sub-national transport body, Midlands Connect - with a funding request for £596 million to deliver them.

Midlands Connect was empowered by the UK Department for Transport (DfT) to work with the 22 local councils, in a partnership to identify priority schemes to improve local roads in the region (as part of a £3.5 billion national fund available from 2020-2025).

The fund covers upgrades to the Major Road Network (MRN), a new category of the busiest and most economically important local authority ‘A’ roads. The MRN was established by the government to focus on financing schemes that will reduce congestion, support housing and employment growth, encourage people to walk, cycle and use public transport, and provide better links to motorways and major trunk roads.

The £3.5 billion government fund also includes “Large Local Majors” (LLM) schemes, which focus on bigger upgrades to local roads.

Following detailed consultation and a rigorous assessment, Midlands Connect has submitted seven priority MRN schemes, and four LLM schemes, to the DfT for consideration:

Major Road Network

  • A4123 Birchley Island, Sandwell (Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council)
  • A38 Bromsgrove Route Enhancement Programme, Worcestershire (Worcestershire County Council)
  • A426/A4071 Avon Mill/Hunters Lane Improvements, Warwickshire (Warwickshire County Council)
  • Queensway Link, Telford (Telford & Wrekin Council)
  • A511 Growth Corridor, Coalville (Leicestershire County Council)
  • A454 between Wolverhampton and East Park Gateway (Wolverhampton City Council)
  • A45/Coventry Road/Damson Parkway Junction, Solihull (Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council)

Large Local Majors

  • North Hykeham Relief Road, Lincoln (Lincolnshire County Council)
  • Chesterfield-Staveley Regeneration Route, Chesterfield (Derbyshire County Council)
  • City East Link Road, Stoke-on-Trent (Stoke-on-Trent City Council)
  • Hereford Bypass, Hereford (Herefordshire Council)

Simon Statham, head of technical programmes at Midlands Connect, said:

“A reliable transport network is essential to the success of the Midlands. The Major Road Network targets funding specifically at schemes that help improve job opportunities, open up new housing developments, and importantly address our environmental obligations as well. Objectives for the funding include understanding how a scheme will create improvements for all road users, not just cars, and improve air quality by reducing congestion.”

“By speaking with a collective voice on behalf of the Midlands, we believe each of the schemes submitted has provided all the evidence the government needs to fund them in full, and we expect to be celebrating a £600 million investment in to the region to help our local authorities get on and deliver this transformational programme of upgrades.”

CBI Regional Director, Richard Butler said:

“To spur further economic growth in our region, businesses are crying out for more funding to be spent on infrastructure. If this money is secured it will allow businesses to grow and create jobs.”

“Improving major congestion pinch points on local roads also allows firms to import and export more easily as well as choose from a wider pool of labour.”

Midlands Connect is encouraging the government to allocate funding for shortlisted schemes as soon as possible to ensure their smooth delivery.

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Edited by Josh Heath