Carrington Bridge dualling "not ruled out" once £38m Southern Link Road revamp is done (From Worcester News)
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Carrington Bridge dualling "not ruled out" once £38m Southern Link Road revamp is done
WAITING times on Worcester’s notorious Southern Link Road will reduce by 50 per cent once a £38m revamp of the route is complete, it has emerged.
Your Worcester News can also reveal how the county council has not ruled out finishing the job by dualling the A4440 Carrington Bridge - saying that will be the next target for reducing congestion.
As we exclusively revealed on Saturday, the council is drawing up plans to dual the route from Whittington island to the Ketch roundabout by 2018.
The funding package, which will include taxpayers’ cash and funds from a developer looking to build 2,200 homes nearby, includes doubling the size of the Ketch island.
According to computer modelling by the county council, drivers will be able to travel at double the speed from Whittington island to the Ketch roundabout when it is complete.
And in the other direction, for motorists heading towards the M5, speeds from the Ketch island to Whittington roundabout will also double.
That compares to now, when the council says it takes over 13 minutes, on average to go the same distance during morning peak periods of 7.30am to 9am, with cars crawling at an average of 12 miles an hour.
Councillor Simon Geraghty, deputy leader and cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure, said: “For as long as I’ve been doing this role the number one aspiration has been the Southern Link Road.
“The more dualling we can do of this route, the better it will be - in an ideal world we’d do the Carrington Bridge now too, but we’re not in an ideal world.
“We are definitely not ruling out another phase - our aim is to do the whole southern link and in the meantime, this will really help.”
The likely cost of dualling the Carrington Bridge has been estimated at anywhere from £30m-£40m, although it could be more.
There are hopes more private funding can be secured for it, especially as plans are being drawn up for 800 new homes next to Dines Green by Hallam Land Management.
The company wants to secure planning permission early next year, before selling the site off for development of a ‘super village’.
But even if an agreement can be secured, more council cash and Government help is also likely to be needed.
West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin said: “I have always supported any proposals to dual the link road from the junction 7 of the M5 towards Malvern.
“This improvement is essential for economic growth in the west of the county. Any progress will be good news for county commuters.”
Work on the link road will start next March, once a consultation lasting 12 weeks finishes over the Ketch island.
That phase will see the roundabout double in size, with a new slip-road created for drivers heading up the Bath Road turning left towards the M5 to head up Broomhall Way.
That phase alone will take 12 months to finish, and the council will then draw up designs for dualling Norton island to Whittington.
It will involve taking possession of the railway structure that drivers pass underneath so it can be widened, with County Hall looking to take it off Network Rail by Christmas 2017 to do the work.
The £38m total cost of both phases follows last year's revamp of the Whittington island.
The council says one lane of Carrington Bridge, for drivers heading towards the M5, gets so congested because the Ketch and Broomhall Way remain bottlenecks, and the part-dualling will make a significant difference there.
The Carrington Bridge was created in October 1984, and congestion on the entire Southern Link Road has been an issue for over 20 years.
Around 30,000 vehicles now use the route daily, on average.
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