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Preferred route announced for £282m scheme to improve M42 J6

Highways England has announced an amended route for its £282m scheme to take the pressure off the M42 junction 6 near Solihull.

The Government-owned company said it is taking forward a modified version of Option 1, which was supported by 64% of respondents, including 60% of the local residents.

The preferred route will see a new 2.4km dual carriageway link road between the A45 Clock Interchange and a new junction on the M42 south of junction 6 located north of Solihull Road.

Junction 6 of the M42 currently links the national motorway network and the A45 Coventry Road, which provides strategic access to Birmingham and Coventry, as well as key sites in the area.

Highways England senior project manager Jonathan Pizzey said: ‘This is a vital scheme which will support economic growth in the area and beyond. It will also improve access to HS2, the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham Airport and future developments such as the UK Central development area.’

Birmingham Airport chief operating officer, David Winstanley welcomed the decision. He said: ‘This junction is a critical part of the road network which provides access to many of the region’s biggest employers but is currently heavily congested.

‘It is therefore vital that better access is provided to ease current congestion and cater for the future growth of both Birmingham Airport and the surrounding UK Central area.’

The modification moves the route slightly closer to the south west corner of Bickenhill to avoid a local business and reduce the effect on the Bickenhill Meadows Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Highways England will also be undertaking improvements to the M42 junction 6 roundabout, Clock Interchange and the A45 between the two, to ensure the two junctions can work together in future and minimise the effect on the A45.

Construction is expected to start in 2020 with completion due in 2023.