Original design for the Black Country Spine Road based on plans from 1988. The whole route was proposed as a high quality dual carriageway allowing uninterrupted travel between M5 J1 and M6 J10. Unfortunately poor ground conditions dramatically increased the cost of the scheme from £50m to £245m which was the death knell for the GSJ's. Severe compromises were made to reduce the cost including online dualling of the existing road between Wednesbury and Moxley and replacing all the GSJ's with roundabouts.
The Lunt is an interesting design. I had assumed the existing junction would have been GSJ'd by utilising the flaring for a flyover. I had never envisaged anything more elaborate was planned, especially something fully freeflowing. The freeflowing nature is somewhat spoilt by the roundabout immediately to the west but everything west of there is at-grade anyway and was planned that way as soon as the earlier motorway scheme was cancelled.
Another interesting junction is the northern of the two roundabouts at Wednesbury. There is an underpass beneath the roundabout for traffic from the A461 to the local road serving the local businesses. This makes it a three level junction.
Although not part of the Spine Road, the junctions on the A454 immediately west of M6 J10 are shown differently on late 1980's plans to what was eventually built. Two westbound offslips in quick succession are shown with no eastbound equivalents - the B4464 catering for eastbound movements. The offslip nearest the M6 was built but the second one was replaced with a full access roundabout GSJ which is arguably much better as it takes traffic off the B4464 and other local roads.
Finally, I have altered the road numbering from what currently exists. A41 now continues northwards to The Lunt. A41 west of Moxley becomes a continuation of the A4038. A41 between Wednesbury and Moxley now downgraded in its entirety. Until I know otherwise, this is purely speculation on my part but makes perfect sense had the original route been built.
A41 approaching Swan Roundabout
Disused railway bridge in the middle of the A41 Photographing this one involved a certain amount of traffic-dodging. The former line here formed part of the Darlaston Loop, and ran southeast.
Redevelopment on the Black Country Route This development has appeared over the last few months on a brown field site near Bilston.
Taken from OS Landranger sheet 139 (Birmingham and Wolverhampton), revision B2; published July 1994.
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