The initial ground investogation and archaeological trial work has started this week to prepare for the construction of the new M54 to M6 Link Road.
The surveys will last around eight weeks and will take place between Junction 11 of the M6 and Junction 1 of the M54. They are used as the basis to develop the final plans before building starts.
Highways England has described the project as a ‘game changer’. At the moment, road users wanting to access the M6 north or M6 Toll must use local roads such as the A460, A449 and A5. This means high volumes of both long-distance and local traffic use the local roads to travel this route. A large volume of local and long-distance traffic uses the A460, which passes through the villages of Featherstone, Hilton and Shareshill.
The A460 has just one lane in each direction with numerous junctions and stretches of road with a 30mph speed limit. It was not designed for the amount and type of traffic currently using it. This results in delays, congestion and high accident rates. There are also air quality issues in the villages along the A460 due to the high volume of traffic.
The A460 currently carries about 26,500 vehicles each day with heavy goods vehicles making up about 10% of this figure. When the proposed link road is open, it could reduce traffic on the A460 to around 4,000 vehicles each day. This will create a safer and less congested environment for local road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.
Improving the link between the M54 and the M6 will help provide additional capacity and relieve traffic congestion on the A460, A449 and A5 to help provide more reliable journey times. There will also be enhanced facilities for local residents, pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians.
The road will improve journeys fromeast to west and north to south supporting the local economies in Telford, Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton, Cannock and Tamworth by improving traffic flow and enhanced east-west and north-south routes.
The Planning Inspectorate reviewed and accepted Highways Englands latest proposed changes following its recent consultation on the project in December.