A road linking the M54 to the M6 in the West Midlands has been given final approval by the government.
The £200m development will see a 2.5km (1.6 mile) road between junction one of the M54 and junction 11 of the M6.
The link will reduce current levels of congestion through the villages of Featherstone, Hilton and Shareshill in Staffordshire, said National Highways.
Access to existing locals roads will be via a new junction north east of the current location on the M54. There will also be a realignment of Hilton Lane over the new road with a new junction also created on the M6.
The scheme, recommended by the government’s Planning Inspectorate, is set to reduce traffic on local roads such as the A460, A449 and A5, by providing additional capacity, it said.
Work on the major project was initially earmarked to start later this year, but the decision by the Transport Secretary, after a public examination, was put back in October 2021.
Following Examinations during which the public, Statutory Consultees and Interested Parties were given the opportunity to give evidence to the Examining Authority, recommendations were made to the Secretary of State on 21 July 2021.
This is the 110th Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project and 38th transport application to have been examined by The Planning Inspectorate within the timescales laid down in the Planning Act 2008.
The Planning Inspectorate’s Chief Executive, Sarah Richards said:
The Planning Inspectorate has now examined more than 100 nationally significant infrastructure projects since the Planning Act 2008 process was introduced, ensuring local communities have had the opportunity of being involved in the examination of projects that may affect them.
This Examination took place during the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions, and the Examining Authority worked hard to ensure that local people, the local authority and other Interested Parties were able to fully participate.
The Examining Authority listened and gave full consideration to local views and the evidence gathered during the examination before making their recommendation.