Airport Roads Are Inadequate, Says Research
Byline: Paul Dale Chief Reporter
Whitehall planners have seriously under-estimated the chaos on the West Midlands road network likely to follow from a huge increase in passengers using an expanded Birmingham International Airport, it was claimed yesterday.
Department for Transport pledges to widen motorways and build new roads would not be good enough to ease congestion if BIA gets a second runway, according to research carried out for Solihull Council.
The study, by consultants Waterman Burrow Crocker, predicts peak-hour traffic flows of 12,900 vehicles per hour entering the airport, compared to 1,800 at the moment - an eight-fold increase. About 15 million passengers a year using an expanded BIA would travel from London, the South-east and South-west of England, compared to 700,000 at the moment.
Alan Rimmer, who undertook the study, told a council scrutiny committee that 76 per cent of passengers would arrive at BIA by car and it was highly unlikely the road network would cope, even with highway improvements proposed by the DfT.
He said: 'Traffic would increase and congestion would be phenomenal.'
A DfT consultation document on the future of air services suggests widening the M42 to four lanes, but Mr Rimmer said much more would need to be done to ease traffic flow.
He suggested the M42, the M6 and the A45 would require five lanes in each direction in the vicinity of the airport.
He said the DfT had also failed to take into account improvements that would be needed to the non-motorway network. There were no proposals in the consultation document for enhanced entrances to the airport. …