M5 lane closures to be lifted - The Evesham Observer

M5 lane closures to be lifted

Evesham Editorial 24th Nov, 2018   0

PERSHORE’S MP Harriett Baldwin has welcomed news highways chiefs will finally lift lane closures on the county’s motorway network which have caused extensive traffic delays for Worcestershire drivers.

The lane closures on the M5 at junction 4a have caused long tailbacks through the county and Mrs Baldwin has been an outspoken critic of the measures since they were first introduced 18 months ago.

Highways England have faced severe criticism for their decision to reduce the stretch of road on the approach to the M42 from four lanes to three on the northbound carriageway.

The closure was introduced to divert traffic away from the major roadworks at the Oldbury viaduct in the Black Country but drivers have been consistently delayed through the M42 junction as well as on north Worcestershire A roads.

Highways chiefs have now written to Mrs Baldwin to confirm they intend to lift the lane restrictions after Christmas, although speed restrictions will remain in place under the Sixways roundabout improvements at junction 6.

“This decision has taken far too long but I welcome the news – as I am sure will every motorist who has been delayed by this artificial traffic pinch-point,” she said.

“The purpose of the lane closure was to reduce delays further north along the Oldbury Viaduct roadworks and for some reason, Highways England felt it was acceptable to delay county motorists instead.

“I have always felt better communication and signage would have been the better technique for managing traffic and I hope Highways England have got the message this strategy was not acceptable.

“The work will continue in Oldbury until the Spring, but I hope this decision to remove the lane closures will mean that our county motorists are able to have a less stressful commute getting towards Birmingham and beyond,” she added.

Highways chiefs insist without the restrictions disruption would be worse, affecting the M5 and M6 corridors, as well as local roads, towns and villages.

In an report on the scheme released last week, Highways England said: “The lane reductions at the M6/M5 interchange and at M5 J4a are working safely and successfully, by encouraging drivers to avoid approaching Birmingham and beyond via the M5.

“There has been an overall reduction in traffic on the M5 northbound approaching J4a, however the balance has continued to change, with more traffic using the M42 to the east of Birmingham than the M5 northbound than was recorded in the previous report produced in November 2017.”

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