Commuters prepare for traffic chaos as Five Ways underpass closes

Commuters are being urged to leave more time for journeys after Five Ways underpass in Birmingham closed to all traffic from this morning.

The closure of the tunnel, which links Broad Street to Hagley Road, marks a landmark step in extending the Metro network which will transform public transport in Birmingham city centre. Five Ways roundabout, above the underpass, will remain open in all directions however it is expected to be busier than usual.

When the Metro extension is complete in 2021 passengers will benefit from step-free access to popular attractions including Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, the International Convention Centre and Symphony Hall.

There will be further changes to bus journeys later in the summer as Metro construction begins on Broad Street. 

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), Birmingham City Council and Midland Metro Alliance (MMA) have teamed up to provide the following travel advice:

  • Plan ahead: Check your journey now and check it again later in the summer for further changes.
  • Leave more time for your journeys especially if you travel along Hagley Road, you’ll need more time for your journey to take account of the closure at Five Ways underpass and the increase in traffic.
  • Travel off-peak: The busiest time to travel during weekdays is usually before 09.30 and after 15.30
  • Consider car sharing to reduce congestion on key roads in and out of the city centre.
  • If you work, speak to your employer about whether there is any flexibility in your hours or if there are any times when you could avoid travelling altogether, such as working from home.

TfWM, part of the West Midlands Combined Authority has drawn up 10 year plan to tackle congestion by giving people more choices for travel along the Hagley Road, including the Westside Metro extension. Anne Shaw, director of network resilience for TfWM, said:

“The closure will be in place until 2021, during this time delays are expected so we are asking people to consider using an alternative route in and out of the city and use public transport wherever possible.

"This will be particularly important when the Cricket World Cup comes to Birmingham later in June.” 

Temporary changes will be introduced in the Five Ways area to keep buses moving during the closure such as suspending parking bays and giving buses priority at lights. Anne added:

“45% of commuters told us in a recent survey that they would consider changing their journey during disruption. If we could get even half that number of people to change their journey while the underpass is closed, we would see a dramatic improvement in peoples’ journey times.”

The Birmingham Westside Metro extension follows the previous extension from St. Chads to Grand Central, which opened for passenger service in May 2016. Once completed, the Metro will operate between Grand Central and Hagley Road in Edgbaston, improving transport links in the heart of Birmingham, making journeys faster and more accessible, in turn helping businesses and supporting more jobs.

The first phase of the works, due to open for passenger services by the end of this year, will see the route extend from Grand Central to Centenary Square. The second phase, is due to be completed in 2021 will continue to Edgbaston.

For information on public transport in the West Midlands and how your journey will be affected during the Five Ways underpass closure, you can visit


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