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New buses, upgraded rail services and road improvements: Multi-million pound Sandwell transport plans revealed

Council bosses have taken the wraps off congestion-busting plans, which include new Sprint buses on Walsall Road, through Wednesbury and West Bromwich, and Hagley Road, Bearwood, bus-friendly improvements on the Birmingham New Road and an extra platform at Rowley Regis train station. Sandwell Council deputy leader Syeda Khatun MBE welcomed the plans, as she revealed residents have been crying out for transport improvements in Sandwell which often has congested roads. She said: “Sandwell is a built up area and has a problem with congestion.

These plans will make it easier for people to travel through Sandwell and out the borough quicker.” Transport chiefs also remain hopeful a long-running plan to revamp the Birchley Island in Oldbury will come to fruition. The multi-million pound proposals were included in a council report setting out the vision for transport in the borough over the coming years and are part of the Transport for West Midlands Movement for Growth 2026 Delivery Plan which aims to transform road and rail travel in the region over the next decade.

The notorious Birchley Island in Oldbury

The bendy sprint buses, which stop less often than regular buses and have been dubbed the ‘Metro’s little sister’, would travel along the two main roads, taking advantage of bus lanes and offering a more attractive proposition to passengers, in the hope more people will consider leaving their cars at home and reduce congestion.

An upgrade of busy junctions on the Birmingham New Road is also planned, with a focus on giving buses priority to stop them getting stuck in traffic.

Advertising Rowley Regis station would expand as part of plans to improve the Snow Hill lane and be given an extra platform, while improvements are also planned for Blackheath train station. Plans for a major scheme at the Birchley Island, at Junction 2 of the M5, which have stalled over a lack of funding, is included in the report, suggesting chiefs remain keen to pursue it.

The scheme to tackle congestion at the roundabout, which could see it turned into a ‘hamburger’ island with traffic running through it, has been in the pipeline since 2014 but Sandwell Council has not been able to secure financial backing to make it a reality.

The latest transport blueprint comes on top of schemes previously announced in the borough, including a revamp of Sandwell and Dudley train station.

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