|Distance:||23.2 miles (37.3 km)|
|Meets:||A458, A491, A4102, A4100, A4036, A4101, A459, A4037, A4123, A4033, A467, A41, A4196, A462, M6, A4148, A454, A452, A5, A5190, A5127, A51|
|Old route now:||A4101, A4037|
|Route outline (key)|
The A461 starts on the A458 at Wollaston, to the west of Stourbridge, then meets the A491 after about 3/4 of a mile. There's a short multiplex to the north (westbound traffic can cut the corner off by using the parallel A4102), after which the road bypasses Brierley Hill and heads for Dudley, where it becomes dual at the late-1990s Dudley southern bypass, avoiding the former nightmare trip through the town centre. It then turns right at a roundabout near Dudley Castle, and heads east, where it crosses the A4123 at Burnt Tree, and heads for Wednesbury.
The road reaches the 1990s A41 Black Country Spine Road, and multiplexes northwards for approximately 1.5 miles, where it turns back north-eastwards towards Wednesbury Town Centre, where it meets the A462, and turns towards Walsall. Under the M6 at Junction 9 it goes, (mind the Ikea queue on a Sunday!) and meets the A4148 Walsall Ring Road, where, like all roads in the area, it disappears into a mysterious numbering black hole, although the former (and maybe even current) route through the town centre does display route confirmation signs with A461 at the top.
It certainly leaves the A4148 at the large junction near the Arboretum, where it is multiplexed with the A454 for a short distance (the A461 number is dominant) before heading for Brownhills, where it crosses the A452 to the south of the town centre. The road then crosses the M6 Toll without a junction and then the A5 at Muckley Corner via a roundabout.
Following the junction, it heads straight for the cathedral city of Lichfield, meeting the A5190 en route. On the edge of town the road bears right onto what passes for a western bypass. The road is liberally scattered with roundabouts and after a couple the A461 splits. Both forks meet the A5127 (former A38), one on the southern edge of town and the other nearer the city centre. The fourth road at the latter roundabout is marked on some maps as being the final section of A461 (as far as the next roundabout), although the signage gives it the A51 number.