£10m investment for Black Country
West Midlands transport authority (Centro) is to spearhead a £10m investment programme. The scheme benefited from £5m awarded to the region by the Government’s Better Bus Area Fund, making it the only region in the area to receive this maximum mount from the fund. It will see £3.3m invested in new buses by operators, £1.9m spent on a new bus and rail interchange at Cradley Heath to provide enhanced links from the rail network to Brierley Hill and £1.1m spent on highways improvements on The Boulevard, the arterial link road between the centre and the A4306, and Pedmore Road. There is also set to be a £1m investment in shelter and information improvements on eight key routes into Brierley Hill, £700,000 going towards the Black Country Swift smartcard scheme in Dudley and £200,000 spent on the WorkWise scheme for Dudley. Work is due to start on the improvements in spring 2014 and is scheduled for completion by Christmas that year. Originally it was proposed to build a new bus station in Merry Hill itself but this option has been shelved after proving too expensive.
Leader of Dudley Council, Cllr David Sparks, said, ‘I am delighted at this huge investment in public transport into Merry Hill and the wider Brierley Hill area and we remain committed to helping improve public transport. This scheme is great news for passengers, businesses and residents and I believe it will encourage more people to save money, time and stress by leaving the car at home and using the bus. It is really good news for local residents who will be able to cross the Pedmore Road to get to Merry Hill in safety.’