Talks are taking place on how to mitigate the impact of the closure of a slip road off the A38 at Lichfield for more than a year.
HS2 has confirmed the Streethay off ramp is likely to face long-term closure starting next year to allow the controversial high speed rail route to be built.
The line will pass beneath the A38 as it moves through Lichfield and the surrounding villages.
David Speight, project client director of HS2 said alternative routes for traffic using the access road from the A38 were being explored in order to minimise the impact on residents as much as possible.
“Next year, subject to consents, we will need to close the southbound slip road at Streethay – but not the A38 itself – for up to 14 months.
“We are currently discussing the affected routes so that alternative routes are ready for when the slip road closes.
“The emergency services are briefed on all the works that we are completing in the Lichfield area, and will also be briefed again prior to the next phase of the work starting.
“We recognise these works are a concern for residents and we will continue to monitor the situation with our traffic management team.
“We will also continue to keep the local community informed about activities in their area through a variety of methods, including direct mail, meetings, and a dedicated HS2 website for works in the area.”David Speight
Preliminary closures of the A38 and slip roads have already lead to tailbacks on surrounding roads through Fradley and other villages.
Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant has raised concerns with HS2 and other authorities about the impact longer-term works could have.
““The construction of HS2 and associated tunnelling by Lichfield continues to cause serious problems – and this will only get worse when the project begins in earnest.
“The slip road from the A38 into Lichfield will be closed next year for up to 18 months and already I am hearing reports of major traffic delays on inappropriate lanes as drivers aim to find alternative routes when there are road closures.
“I have contacted both Staffordshire Police and the county council asking for clear signage for diversion routes to avoid blockages where at all possible. I have also asked HS2 regarding this.
“My opposition to HS2 is well known both with regard to its cost and the odd, disconnected route it takes.
“However, the legislation for London to Crewe via Lichfield has been passed in Parliament despite my voting against and all I can do now is try and mitigate the effects of HS2 on my constituents.”
“Shared notifications of our works with local residents”
Mr Speight added that delays experienced so far during works were not entirely down to the closures being put in place.
“We are working closely with National Highways to put diversions in place for drivers.
“We have also shared notifications of our works with local residents and will continue to keep the community informed about the details of these and other works in the local area.
“The A38 is currently closed at Hilliard’s Cross, including the slip road off the A38, from 8pm to 5am, Friday evening to Monday morning, for eight weekends from 14th October to 6th December.
“During the weekend of 30th and 31st October there was a road traffic collision near Hilliard’s Cross which did cause delays and more congestion in the area, as the emergency services had to close the road to deal with the incident. This was not related to the A38 works.”David Speight
But Mr Fabricant said