From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
|Cheshire • Derbyshire • Shropshire • Warwickshire • Worcestershire|
|Current Highways Agency Roads|
|M5, M6, M6 Toll, M42, M54, A5, A38, A50, A449, A500|
|Brownhills • Burton upon Trent • Cannock • Leek • Lichfield • Newcastle-under-Lyme • Rugeley • Stafford • Stoke-on-Trent • Tamworth • Uttoxeter • Walsall • West Bromwich • Wolverhampton|
|Current Highway Authorities|
|Dudley MBC • Sandwell MBC • Staffordshire County Council • Stoke-on-Trent City Council • Walsall MBC • Wolverhampton City Council|
Staffordshire is a traditional county in central England. It contains the cities of Wolverhampton, Stoke-on-Trent and Lichfield as well as towns such as Cannock, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stafford, Walsall and West Bromwich.
Across the county
In the motorway age, the county is bisected from north to south by the M5 and M6, which are perhaps not surprisingly the busiest roads in the county. The M6 Toll bypasses the southern section of M6 in the county, whilst the M54 serves northern Wolverhampton on its way to Shropshire, and the M42 enters the eastern side of the county near Tamworth.
Prior to the coming of the motorways, the primary traffic movements through the county were in similar corridors to today, with the A34 passing from the Manchester area to the north, through Newcastle-under-Lyme in the north of the county to Stone and Stafford in the central area and then on to Cannock and Walsall in the south before heading out of the county into Birmingham. The other high-traffic routes were along A449, starting in Stafford and heading through Wolverhampton before passing out of the southern part of the county towards Worcester; and A38, which passed through Burton upon Trent and Lichfield on the eastern side of the county on its route between Birmingham and Derby.
Whilst the Roman Watling Street (now A5) passes through the county from west to east, it was perhaps surprising to note that in the early part of the twentieth century, the road was relatively quiet, with two possible reasons. Firstly, the road bypasses all major settlements in the county, passing almost equadistant between Wolverhampton and Stafford, before passing Cannock to the south, Brownhills to the north, and Tamworth again to the south. Secondly, the road was replaced as the main London - Holyhead coaching road by Thomas Telford, whose new Holyhead Road entered the county along now-A41 near to West Bromwich before passing through Wolverhampton city centre, and then taking now-A464 and leaving the county in the direction of Telford and Shrewsbury.
Urban road development
The pattern of urban road development is, not surprisingly, focussed on the largest cities in the area.
In the south of the county, the Black Country conurbation is a true multi-centred conurbation, with the road network simply passing from town centre to town centre in the area (and hence appearing to be rather chaotic on maps), whilst the presence of Birmingham just over the Warwickshire border influences the pattern somewhat, with Birmingham radials passing into the county.
Further north, Wolverhampton forms a major centre, with the vast majority of the road network in the area radiating from the city centre, which was only bypassed by the M6 and M5 motorways in the early 1970s. To a lesser extent, Walsall also acts as a hub for the network in its immediate area.
The Potteries conurbation not surprisingly forms the major hub for the northern part of the county, but perhaps more surprisingly it is more focussed on the town of Newcastle-under-Lyme rather than the larger city of Stoke-on-Trent. This is due to the historical factors, with Newcastle being the largest of the towns in the area as the city of Stoke-on-Trent was formed in the 1920s as a federation of several smaller towns.
The majority of the county's road network is managed by Staffordshire County Council, with the exception of the two major urban areas in the county.
The urban road network in the south is managed by a combination of Wolverhampton City Council, Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council; whilst in the north Stoke-on-Trent City Council has responsibility for the network within its boundaries. It should be noted that parts of the Potteries outside Stoke-on-Trent, such as Newcastle-under-Lyme have their network maintained by the County Council.
The Highways Agency have responsibility for a number of Trunk Roads within the county. The county's motorway network of M6, M5, M42 and M54 falls into this category, whilst the M6 Toll is managed by Midland Expressway on the Highways Agency's behalf. In addition to the motorway network, the entire A38 in the county is maintained by the HA, whilst the section of A50 between Stoke-on-Trent and Derby; the section of A449 between M54 and A5 just north of Wolverhampton; the A500 between its two M6 junctions through Stoke-on-Trent and the A5 from the A449 north of Wolverhampton eastwards are also the responsibility of the HA.