|Location Map ( geo)|
|Forward Destination on|
|A461, A4036, A4123|
|Next Primary Destinations|
|Birmingham • Bromsgrove • Stourbridge • Walsall • West Bromwich • Wolverhampton|
|Other Nearby Destinations|
|Bilston • Coseley • Halesowen|
|Places related to the A4123|
|Places related to the A461|
|Places related to the A459|
It is located south of Wolverhampton and west of Birmingham and is the largest town in the Black Country in terms of population. However, it has declined in economic importance over the last 50 years, being both squeezed out by the the two nearby cities; and also by the presence of the Merry Hill shopping centre to the southwest in Brierley Hill. These changes have meant that the town no longer has a Travel to Work Area of its own; and indeed it is no longer considered to be a strategic centre even in the Black Country context.
Despite being clearly one of the most important Black Country settlements at the start of the 20th century, Dudley has never been any more than a local focus of the road network in the area; as the post-Industrial Revolution Black Country has always been a true conurbation with a mix of small and medium sized towns squeezed between the two cities to either side, and so "most important" must be taken in the wider context.
This can be seen easily by the fact that even the southernmost of the two competing routes between Birmingham and Wolverhampton at the time of classication in 1922, the A457, did not pass through the town, instead passing through Tipton to the north.
In that 1922 classification, the town centre itself doesn't have a particular focal point, with one of the rare [multiplex]]es created at that point running through the town, as the A461 (towards Stourbridge in the one direction and Walsall in the other being the signed route, whilst the A459 (towards Wolverhampton in one direction, and Halesowen in the other) being the junior partner; with a collection of other radial routes with A and B classifications meeting those two some way out of the town centre.
In November 1927, the first inter-city highway of the twentienth century, the A4123 Birmingham - Wolverhampton New Road opened. However, whilst this road passed closer to Dudley than the A457, it still bypassed the town, running along the edge of the then-County Borough boundary when it might have been expected to pass through it. Even today, the A4123 forms the administrative boundary between Dudley MBC and the neighbouring Sandwell MBC.
After that point, the road network in the town stayed fairly statis, with only the construction of the A4168 in the 1930s to serve the newly built Priory Estate being an important new route. Other than that, there was the diversion of the A459 to its present route along The Broadway in 1950 as the only major change to the A road network in the town before the High Street becoming an unclassified road in the late 1960s, with the A461 being diverted via Trindle Road instead, and a number of ancilliary changes this caused elsewehere.
By the 1990s, this was an insufficient change, as Trindle Road became a notorious bottleneck for traffic, the Dudley Southern Bypass was constructed. This was a dual carriageway built to the south of the town centre (but well inside the town proper), with mostly flat roundabout junctions. Early editions of OS Explorer maps in the area suggested that the route was opened with grade separation, but this was incorrect and is simply a mapping error. However, with the opening of the Southern Bypass, it does not appear that Dudley Council performed a full review of the remaining classification within the town centre, and to this day there are random subs of A-roads that end on B- or unclassified roads (such as the stub of A4168), and B-roads that just seemingly stop randomly such as B4176.
The road network of Dudley is administered solely by Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.
|Walsall, W.Brom, (A4035) (M5,M6) (A4023)|
|Bromsgrove, Quarry Bank (M5 South)|
|Coseley, Wolverhampton (A4123)|
|Pensnett, Kingswinford, Wall Heath|
|Gornal, Sedgley, Wolverhampton, (A459)|
All roads in the town are managed by Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.