WORK to improve transport links in the Churchfields area of Kidderminster are set to take a big step forwards next week.

The main element of the Churchfields Highway Improvement Scheme - the creation of a new link access from the A456 Ringway roundabout through to Churchfields - is nearing completion.

It means the new link road will be able to open to vehicles from Tuesday, August 18.

Works have also taken place to convert Churchfields into an A-road and works to redesign the gyratory at the Horsefair are ongoing.

Kidderminster Shuttle: The Churchfields link road in KidderminsterThe Churchfields link road in Kidderminster

Councillor Ken Pollock, Worcestershire County Council's cabinet member for economy and infrastructure, said: "Despite the impact of Covid-19, this scheme is progressing very well and it’s really good news that we’re in a position to open up the new link road.

“The improvements that are being made to the transport links in the area, will not only help to tackle congestion and improve traffic flow but they’re also an extremely important step towards delivering new homes in the area.”

The opening of the new link road will allow works to commence on the next phase of the scheme, which will see Blackwell Street closed to eastbound traffic from Tuesday, August 18.

Councillor Fran Oborski, deputy leader of Wyre Forest District Council, said: “I welcome the progress being made on this important scheme and I am looking forward to seeing its completion as it will help ease traffic congestion and deliver much needed new homes on this sustainable brownfield site.

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"It will also help in relieving pollution in The Horsefair which has some of the worst air pollution in the county.”

The scheme received a £1m investment from Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and £1.6m from Greater Birmingham Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership via the Government’s Growth Deal. Funding has also been received from the Housing Infrastructure Fund.

Gary Woodman, chief executive of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “It is great to see that work on the Churchfields scheme is progressing on target.

"This Local Growth Fund scheme was designed to open up the area to support the development of new homes and implement better traffic flow.

“Having this first set of works complete, allows for more reliable journey times across the route, which is great for all those who use it for work and leisure. This is further investment in the Worcestershire economy.”

Chris Loughran, deputy chair for delivery at GBSLEP, added: "It is extremely encouraging to see these key infrastructure improvements continuing efficiently despite the challenges the team have faced in light of Covid-19.

"Our role as a LEP is to support and facilitate investment in our region's communities, and these works will be of huge benefit to those who live and work in Churchfields.

"As well as improving traffic flow and access in the area, the finished works will unlock a key housing site which will provide much needed new homes for local people."

Works on the Churchfields Urban Highway Improvement Scheme have been ongoing since October last year to support the delivery of new homes planned for the area and are set for completion in the winter.