Black Country link scrapped—agail
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by Guy Sheppard Haulage leaders are to carry on fighting for a new motorway link road around the Black Country even though the scheme looks set to be scrapped for the second time in six years.
An independent panel has decided to remove bypass schemes for Wolverhampton and Stourbridge from a planning blueprint for the next 20 years. It predicts that travel times would be cut by no more than 2.2% and the areas most in need of regeneration would not benefit significantly.
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott is expected to rubber-stamp the panel's decision in the new year.
Mike Farmer, regional director of the Road Haulage Association, says he is very disappointed, but adds: "I believe we will Just have to keep on banging the drum about this requirement. People will wake up in a number of years' time and think for goodness sake, why didn't we build it all those years backP'."
However, Colin Hagan, the Freight Transport Associations regional policy manager. says a separate study on the Black Country's transport and regeneration needs, due to be completed by mid-2004 could quickly put the bypasses back on the agenda.
Tun Rollinson, managing director of heavy transport specialist TDR Transport, says the bypasses would have made journeys from his KingswInford headquarters to a satellite depot in Shrewsbury far easier.
' The journey should take about one-and-a-quarter hours but it can take up to two hours because of congestion," he says.
The £190m bypasses were proposed last year after plans for a new link between the M5 and the M54 motorways was scrapped In 1996.