Environmentalists have expressed dismay over fresh calls for the controversial Western Orbital road to be resurrected along with a massive upsurge in Black Country roadbuilding.
Reports suggest local authorities and business leaders want the £500 million bypass through Staffordshire and around the Black Country put back on the agenda - after it was rejected by the Government in the 1990s.
Transport bosses from the two main councils affected - Dudley and Wolverhampton - have both given weight to business sector calls for the revival of the road.
They say congestion is crippling the area's industry and the road, that would run from junction four of the M5 at Bromsgrove to the M54 north of Wolverhampton, would tackle it.
However, the environmentalists who fought the last plans for a Western Orbital claim new road building would be expensive, make attractive areas unpopular, drive people to live outside the Black Country and fail to solve the problems of congestion.
They point to technical work that has shown traffic jams would remain and journey times would be little changed.
Peter Langley, chairman of the West Midland Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, said: "The last thing the Black Country and the beautiful green belt surrounding it needs is more tarmac.
"This will merely fuel traffic growth and congestion and eventually bring the area to a standstill."
Chris Crean, from West Midlands Friends of the Earth, added: ''As the rest of the planet is starting to get to grips with climate change and our addiction to oil the business community in the Black Country continues to look backwards. We have to deal with congestion where it is created by investing in alternatives to enable people to have a real transport choice.
"This would result in traffic reduction and more space on existing routes for essential road users."
Both point to evidence of the M6 Toll - known as the Birmingham Northern Relief Road when first mooted and intended to form a circle with the Western Orbital bypassing the West Midlands conurbation - where a slight dip in traffic on the M6 has virtually been replaced by new traffic.
Dudley transport chief Coun Angus Adams (Con Norton) said the bypass was one of the options that could end gridlocked roads in the region. "We need to examine all of the options, congestion is crippling the industry around here.
Wolverhampton transport spokesman Coun Milkinder Jaspal (Lab Heath Town) also backed the road.
He said: "We need to create a ring road round the Black Country or the city will continue to suffer."
The Western Orbital Motorway was rejected in the 1990s by the Conservative Government because of its environmental impact and lack of interest from the private sector.
Proposals for two Western bypasses of Stourbridge and Wolverhampton - in effect, joining to form the same road - surfaced in the West Midlands Area Multi Modal Study in 2000 but were rejected at the Regional Planning Guidance public examination after a more detailed study failed to prove they would help regenerate the Black Country.