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Date: 13/07/2018

In order for the local economy to grow, the infrastructure needs to meet business needs. Currently the Midlands have gained many infrastructure projects to improve the road and rail, however these messages often get lost during our busy lives.

The Chamber Transport Forum saw key transport bodies discuss their priorities. The event was held at Karndean International who sit next to the A46, a road known for its infrastructure issues. This issue was highlighted to key transport bodies such as Midlands Connect, West Midlands Rail Executive and Highways England who came to speak at this event and firms may be interested to know that Midlands Connect are very interested in improving the A46 throughout the Midlands.

Each transport body was given time to speak about themselves and the current projects their working on; we have highlighted the key information for those unable to attend.

Midlands Connect

Who are they?

Midlands Connect collaborates with central government, local authorities and local enterprise partnerships from across the Midlands. Together with the Department for Transport they developed a transport strategy that identified major infrastructure projects needed to improve the connectivity of the region’s key locations to help drive economic growth. You can find out more information by visiting their website:

Infrastructure priorities:

During the research period for the transport strategy Midlands Connect realised that the A46 acts as a backbone between the East and West, producing 54% GVA for the Midlands, which is a significant contribution to the economy. Future research into the A46 focused on gathering input from local businesses around this route and this resulted in Chambers from across the Midlands creating a partnership with Midlands Connect to gain stronger evidence.
If you are someone who was unable to take part in the survey, but still want to voice your opinion and be involved with any future work Midlands Connect conduct, you can get in touch with their Stakeholder Management Lead, Sarah Spink, by emailing:

West Midlands Rail Executive

Who are they?

Formerly West Midlands Rail, their aim is to be a movement for change – driving a revolution in rail services for West Midlands. Working closely with the rail industry, they intend to help drive investment into rail for the West Midlands and ensure economic growth throughout the region. This means they are focused on long-term planning and to work with all rail providers to ensure that the infrastructure is as good as London. To find out more information, visit their website: 

Rail priorities:

Over the last 10 years, rail usage has increased by 70% putting an extreme demand on current services. Therefore, they are working on increasing the number of trains to and from Birmingham for both Herefordshire and Worcestershire, including an increase in carriages from 566 to 706 in 2021. This means there will be 20,000 extra seats for rush hour passengers into Birmingham.   

Highways England

Who are they?

Highways England operate, maintain and improve England’s motorways and major A roads, working closely with the Department for Transport. Their three values are: Customer, Safety and Delivery and are at the core of their decisions, for example, we have an aging asset and the needs for maintenance and renewal are significant and will require considerable investment in order to continue with the effective operation of the network. 

Infrastructure priorities:

Through the research phase they gather stakeholder feedback and use strategic studies to understand what areas need improvement. Currently, the Oldbury Viaduct is a priority as this is an old infrastructure that needs considerable maintenance to carry the load of traffic. It is a huge project and due to even more repairs being undertaken on this route it has meant they’ve had to postpone the end date.

Another priority is the M5 J6 improvement scheme which aims to widen the circulatory and widen the approach roads. This also includes new traffic signals and replacement of existing traffic signals, replacing the drainage system and waterproofing the bridge deck. This is a big project which is part of the South Worcestershire Development Plan and will help to support economic growth in the local area. This scheme will be completed in the winter of 2018/19 if all goes to plan.

The Road Investment Strategy process has seen significant funding, and the A46 is being considered to receive some of the funding but it will be the final decision made by the Secretary of State for Transport to see whether this project will be carried forward.