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Major step forward on Birchley Island

Published 1st June 2018

Sandwell Council is set to approve a major step in plans for a £26 million new 'hamburger-style' traffic system at Birchley Island in Oldbury to relieve congestion problems at one of the busiest junctions in the borough.

The council’s cabinet is being asked to approve the latest move on plans for a new system for the island at junction 2 of the M5 motorway to cut queues and improve traffic flow between Sandwell, Dudley and Birmingham.

The latest moves include compulsory purchase orders for land needed for the development around the existing A4123 Birchley Island to allow the works to go ahead.

The much-awaited project will see a ‘through roundabout’ or ‘hamburger’ junction created – meaning the Wolverhampton Road will pass through the current island in both directions next to the electricity sub-station.

There will also be improved links from the M5 junction 2 to and from Birchley Island and traffic lights between Churchbridge and the island from the direction of Oldbury.

The move to go ahead with the proposals following confirmation from the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership that they have provisionally allocated £16.1 million towards the scheme.

Councillor Steve Eling, leader of Sandwell Council, said: “This is welcome news because the Birchley Island is a very congested junction which causes long delays and frustration for thousands of local motorists and drivers passing through.

“The main problem is that the island is used by so many motorists who do not have an alternative route to the motorways or into Oldbury. It is a junction I avoid at all times.

“The new hamburger system will improve the congestion problems even though it will always be a busy junction and the improvements will have a positive impact on bus services and for local motorists .

“It will also be good news for the many Black Country businesses who use the junction to transport goods through the junction onto the regional and national networks."

Councillor Eling said there would also be benefits to road safety, with improved junction control, lane marking and improved pedestrian and cycle facilities which should reduce accidents.

This was good news because the existing junction has a poor accident record with 32 injury accidents at the junction in the last five years, he said.

He said the Black Country LEP decision on finance meant that work should go ahead in the near future because the cash offer was dependent on it being spent by the end of 2021.

The cabinet report on the CPO proposals, which is being considered on Wednesday (June 6), reveals that the scheme is also being financed by the West Midlands Combined Authority and the council