DAMSON PARKWAY: Troubled junction could need further measures
One of Solihull’s busiest junctions could need further changes in the long-term should plans to relocate the borough’s rubbish tip go ahead.
The council is currently consulting on a scheme to ease pressure on the heavily congested A45 Coventry Road/Damson Parkway site.
Although it has admitted that while some developments – such as the JLR Logistics Operations Centre – have been factored into plans, other less certain schemes have not.
Crucially these include the potential move of the Household Waste Recycling Centre to land nearby and plans for 700 new houses to the south east.
At an online briefing on their current plans this week road chiefs said there were options to “build on” the scheme they have set out.
They were responding to a question – from one resident – about whether another set of developments could mean extra measures were necessary.
“Obviously the tip hasn’t yet been confirmed to move to there … but if that does happen I suppose presumably you’re going to have to make some alterations,” he said.
“Because it probably won’t be enough to cope with the traffic.”
Possible plans to move the tip and a separate council depot – currently based at Moat Lane – to Damson Parkway first surfaced last year.
Although senior councillors have insisted that no final decision has been made about the proposal, papers had identified the site as “the preferred option.”
Walter Bailey, the council’s transport planner, admitted it was “very difficult” to forecast how things might change at the moment.
A relocated tip or a sizeable new housing estate may result in even more strain being placed on the stretch, meaning further works are needed either at this site or nearby.
However, Mr Bailey argued there was uncertainty about whether other possible changes – such as a permanent shift towards home-working – could have the opposite effect on traffic.
“What we have done, we think, is design something which accommodates 10-15 years or so of traffic growth.
“But a lot of that depends on the extent to which growth continues at the airport, which growth continues at the NEC and the HS2 Station area and the extent to which people continue to travel to work in the way they have done pre-Covid.
“It may well be that traffic levels go down comparatively in the future, so we can accommodate all growth without there being an issue.”
Solihull Council had previously named the junction – described as “one of the most congested” locally – as a priority and published draft plans for an improvement scheme just before Christmas.
Residents’ responses will feed into the proposals, which are set to return to the cabinet member for growth and infrastructure delivery this summer.
The council will still have to secure funding for the project and under the current timetable work is unlikely to start on-site before 2023.
The public has until next Monday (March 15) to give its views. To find out more about the scheme and to complete a questionnaire go to https://tinyurl.com/yya783dt
The current proposals:
- Create an extra straight-ahead lane on the A45 in the eastbound direction and an extra right turn lane from Coventry Road into Damson Parkway. This will providing five traffic lanes in total when approaching from Birmingham.
- Alter lanes on the Damson Parkway approach to provide two full right turn lanes with extended lane length, and a longer left turn land.
- Increase length of the left turn lane from the A45 from the east to Damson Parkway.
- Widen Damson Parkway to provide a minimum of two lanes northbound between the newly-built Jaguar Land Rover access junction and the A45.
- Replace the “sub-standard” footbridge over the A45 with a Toucan pedestrian/cycle crossing across three arms of the junction.
- Upgrade traffic signals linked to the Solihull traffic control centre.
Words: David Irwin, Local Democracy Reporter
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