A4440 Southern Link Road suffers "horrendous" congestion, admits council

Worcester News: Worcester's A4440 Southern Link Road Worcester's A4440 Southern Link Road

CONGESTION on Worcester’s notorious Southern Link Road was lambasted as “horrendous” and “miserable” by politicians today - who backed a breakthrough £38m revamp.

Plans for the biggest roads investment in Worcestershire for years were endorsed by the Conservative leadership this afternoon, which is set to see the A4440 route part-dualled by 2018.

It came as councillors admitted the hold-ups are “giving over 30,000 people a day a miserable experience”, holding back south Worcestershire’s economy and increasing pollution.

During a passionate debate, cabinet members also said people in Malvern are becoming increasingly frustrated by using it for simple trips to Worcestershire Royal Hospital or onto the M5.

The county council also revealed the average number of cars using the road has now hit 31,500 per day, meaning drivers go at 12mph during peak periods despite it having a 60mph limit.

They backed a 12-week consultation before starting work on the first portion of the project, which will see the Ketch island double in size by March 2015.

Councillor Simon Geraghty, deputy leader and the cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure, said: “The Southern Link Road is one of the most important roads in Worcestershire, not just to Worcester itself but the county.

“We’ve seen the growth of car-born traffic and the impact variable journey times down there has had - this is one of those routes if people can avoid, they do avoid.

“For a 60 miles-per-hour limit those kind of speeds are very slow. What we’re doing today is giving the green light to tackle this congestion.”

Councillor John Smith, cabinet member for highways and congestion, said: “When you look at the figures, over 30,000 cars using this route daily, it’s horrendous.

“Anyone who travels that journey daily will know what it’s like.”

They also said householders in areas like Malvern are finding themselves increasingly exasperated.

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for localism and communities, said: “When I was elected as a candidate for Malvern Chase the very first group of residents I met said their biggest concern was transport, and having to use this road to get to the hospital or motorway.”

From March next year a new slip-road will be created for drivers who reach the Ketch island from Bath Road and turn left, as well as a much larger roundabout being created.

After that designs will be created for the rest of the project, dualling Norton roundabout to Whittington island, starting in the spring of 2016.

A remaining section of carriageway between the Norton and Ketch islands will then be dualled too, finishing by early 2018.

Of the total estimated £38m cost, the council is working on significant private sector funding to ease the burden on taxpayers.

That includes a contribution from Welbeck Land, developers which have submitted a planning application for a 2,200 home super village off Crookbarrow Way, St Peter’s.

As your Worcester News revealed last Saturday, Carrington Bridge will not be dualled as part of the project but the council hopes to work on that after 2018.

The council says road speeds will double even without Carrington Bridge being touched.

During the debate Councillor Marc Bayliss, who represents St Peter’s on the county council turned up to say he was very concerned about the Ketch island slip road bringing traffic a few feet from homes in Begonia Close.

He said officers had rejected pleas from him, and other politicians, for details on what other options have been discounted before coming to a conclusion on cutting through a green bank to create the slip-road.

Coun Geraghty said he would “not want to mislead people” that during the consultation anything would change on that, adding there are constraints on the site, such as an electricity pylon.

As your Worcester News revealed today, the council is considering mitigation measures like a raised earth bund and acoustic fence instead.

Comments (22)

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6:01pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Andy_R says...

There's no point whatsoever in messing about with the roundabout when the location of the new bridge/extra lanes on the existing bridge isn't known. It's all going to have to be changed again when the real problem (the bridge) is solved, so any money spent on it now is going to be totally wasted.
There's no point whatsoever in messing about with the roundabout when the location of the new bridge/extra lanes on the existing bridge isn't known. It's all going to have to be changed again when the real problem (the bridge) is solved, so any money spent on it now is going to be totally wasted. Andy_R

7:26pm Thu 12 Dec 13

pinkfluff says...

Causing misery......no blooming s**t!! I give myself 45 mins for a 20 minute journey because I use this road and it is a really depressing start to the day. Adds an hour and a half to my working day when it should be around 40 minutes.

Yet another prang at the Whittington roundabout on the new slip road this evening btw. Saw drivers exchanging details.
Causing misery......no blooming s**t!! I give myself 45 mins for a 20 minute journey because I use this road and it is a really depressing start to the day. Adds an hour and a half to my working day when it should be around 40 minutes. Yet another prang at the Whittington roundabout on the new slip road this evening btw. Saw drivers exchanging details. pinkfluff

7:40pm Thu 12 Dec 13

i-cycle says...

As a cyclist and car user (mostly outside peak hours) this road does need improving as the congestion is unacceptable.

My main concerns are to ensure the new development does not increase traffic congestion on other roads in the City (almost inevitable?) and that it does not form an impenetrable barrier for pedestrians and cyclists trying to cross it. Also that any crossings provided make it easier and not harder for those in the massive new housing developments that are planned to get into and out of the City without using their cars (and thereby reducing congestion on other roads in the City).

This shouldn't happen given best highway practice and new Government guidance, but I'm less than convinced that Worcestershire County Council and their political masters are up to the challenge.
As a cyclist and car user (mostly outside peak hours) this road does need improving as the congestion is unacceptable. My main concerns are to ensure the new development does not increase traffic congestion on other roads in the City (almost inevitable?) and that it does not form an impenetrable barrier for pedestrians and cyclists trying to cross it. Also that any crossings provided make it easier and not harder for those in the massive new housing developments that are planned to get into and out of the City without using their cars (and thereby reducing congestion on other roads in the City). This shouldn't happen given best highway practice and new Government guidance, but I'm less than convinced that Worcestershire County Council and their political masters are up to the challenge. i-cycle

8:00pm Thu 12 Dec 13

skychip says...

Do hope this project will be thoroughly thought through before more money is wasted and not rushed into.
Do hope this project will be thoroughly thought through before more money is wasted and not rushed into. skychip

9:36pm Thu 12 Dec 13

grumpy woman says...

Will nobody listen? Did our worthy councillors not read the comments yesterday? The only solutions to this problem is the completion of the northern link and a link from Malvern to the motorway and a dualling of the Carrington bridge.
How dare they add even more houses to a road that cannot cope without the necessary infrastructure. And roads are just the start. We then turn to schools, hospitals, sewers, flooding etc.
They should remember that the public vote them in and can vote them out again.
Will nobody listen? Did our worthy councillors not read the comments yesterday? The only solutions to this problem is the completion of the northern link and a link from Malvern to the motorway and a dualling of the Carrington bridge. How dare they add even more houses to a road that cannot cope without the necessary infrastructure. And roads are just the start. We then turn to schools, hospitals, sewers, flooding etc. They should remember that the public vote them in and can vote them out again. grumpy woman

11:30pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Lew Smoralz says...

It seems to me that no political party, will come out and support the Northern Link. What is stopping them doing what every Worcester resident knows is right?

Something sinister about the whole situation, when that Northern Link was originally scheduled for completion over 20 years ago!!!
It seems to me that no political party, will come out and support the Northern Link. What is stopping them doing what every Worcester resident knows is right? Something sinister about the whole situation, when that Northern Link was originally scheduled for completion over 20 years ago!!! Lew Smoralz

2:00am Fri 13 Dec 13

TinFoilHat says...

They can dual what they want, the roundabouts will still stop traffic and cause a bottle neck. You'll just end up with 2 lanes of stationary traffic instead of 1. Its been a rubbish road for the 20 years I can remember, it's never going to change.
They can dual what they want, the roundabouts will still stop traffic and cause a bottle neck. You'll just end up with 2 lanes of stationary traffic instead of 1. Its been a rubbish road for the 20 years I can remember, it's never going to change. TinFoilHat

6:35am Fri 13 Dec 13

Reynard11 says...

The northern link road is what we need!!!!!!!
The northern link road is what we need!!!!!!! Reynard11

7:27am Fri 13 Dec 13

seenem says...

The Northern link will never be completed as long as the people who the councillors think have to be"sucked up to" continue to populate Bevere and Claines and who don't want to have the inconvenience of road and bridge building going on in their part of Worcester.
The Northern link will never be completed as long as the people who the councillors think have to be"sucked up to" continue to populate Bevere and Claines and who don't want to have the inconvenience of road and bridge building going on in their part of Worcester. seenem

8:40am Fri 13 Dec 13

dav3yb0y says...

Quite simple really. dual the road, dual the bridge and put in place the northern link road (also dual) and worcester has a good infrastructure for years to come. It'll cost loads of money but it needs to happen and it's the only way to ease the growing conjestion. The council need to dig deep.
Quite simple really. dual the road, dual the bridge and put in place the northern link road (also dual) and worcester has a good infrastructure for years to come. It'll cost loads of money but it needs to happen and it's the only way to ease the growing conjestion. The council need to dig deep. dav3yb0y

8:59am Fri 13 Dec 13

MikeA says...

On the 4th September 2011, Councillor Marc Bayliss wrote to Peter Blake, Head of Transport, Worcestershire County Council, regarding the proposed Southern Link road improvements and the Bid for Government funding:

“The degree of collaboration between the City Council and County Council in the development of this bid has been particularly welcome, and has ensured that the proposals for improving Worcester's transport network are fully integrated with the forthcoming Master Plan for the city centre.”

This County Council Bid documentation for Government funding , at Annex 3; Appendix A; Scheme Drawings; Ketch Roundabout (Ref: A15); clearly shows an enlarged roundabout with a new slip road inside the pylon and encroaching on the existing houses at St. Peter’s.
On the 4th September 2011, Councillor Marc Bayliss wrote to Peter Blake, Head of Transport, Worcestershire County Council, regarding the proposed Southern Link road improvements and the Bid for Government funding: “The degree of collaboration between the City Council and County Council in the development of this bid has been particularly welcome, and has ensured that the proposals for improving Worcester's transport network are fully integrated with the forthcoming Master Plan for the city centre.” This County Council Bid documentation for Government funding , at Annex 3; Appendix A; Scheme Drawings; Ketch Roundabout (Ref: A15); clearly shows an enlarged roundabout with a new slip road inside the pylon and encroaching on the existing houses at St. Peter’s. MikeA

9:55am Fri 13 Dec 13

MikeA says...

In the Nov 2013 issue St Peter’s NewsLink, Councillor Aubrey Tarbuck published the following open email to Mr John Hobbs at Worcestershire County Council:

“TO: Mr John Hobbs
Director of Business, Environment and Community
Worcestershire County Council

Dear John,

Together with Councillor Roger Knight, we are the City Ward Councillors for St. Peter’s.

I am concerned to read several published reports that Councillor Roger Knight has been in discussions with yourselves for several years and that he has received “many assurances” from yourselves that upgrading the Ketch roundabout would have little impact on the residents.

Putting aside that I have clearly been excluded from these discussions, I am now surprised and concerned to read that these “many assurances” have perhaps been an inaccurate representation of the true situation.
In summary, my concerns are:

1. Regarding the Outline Design as discussed with the “Key Stakeholders” during the summer of 2011, why were my Ward Constituents excluded from this consultation process?

2. Given that the programme cost estimates are based on this Outline Design, why have my Ward Constituents been given the impression that the final Detailed Design could be significantly changed?

3. What discussions and assurances have been given to Councillor Roger Knight during the course of the last two years?

4. Why was the programme plan designed to only consult with my Ward Constituents during the Detailed Design stage?

Given the gravity of these concerns, I trust that my enquiry will receive your immediate attention and prompt response.

Kind Regards,
Aubrey Tarbuck
Cllr for St. Peter’s Ward
Worcester City Council”
In the Nov 2013 issue St Peter’s NewsLink, Councillor Aubrey Tarbuck published the following open email to Mr John Hobbs at Worcestershire County Council: “TO: Mr John Hobbs Director of Business, Environment and Community Worcestershire County Council Dear John, Together with Councillor Roger Knight, we are the City Ward Councillors for St. Peter’s. I am concerned to read several published reports that Councillor Roger Knight has been in discussions with yourselves for several years and that he has received “many assurances” from yourselves that upgrading the Ketch roundabout would have little impact on the residents. Putting aside that I have clearly been excluded from these discussions, I am now surprised and concerned to read that these “many assurances” have perhaps been an inaccurate representation of the true situation. In summary, my concerns are: 1. Regarding the Outline Design as discussed with the “Key Stakeholders” during the summer of 2011, why were my Ward Constituents excluded from this consultation process? 2. Given that the programme cost estimates are based on this Outline Design, why have my Ward Constituents been given the impression that the final Detailed Design could be significantly changed? 3. What discussions and assurances have been given to Councillor Roger Knight during the course of the last two years? 4. Why was the programme plan designed to only consult with my Ward Constituents during the Detailed Design stage? Given the gravity of these concerns, I trust that my enquiry will receive your immediate attention and prompt response. Kind Regards, Aubrey Tarbuck Cllr for St. Peter’s Ward Worcester City Council” MikeA

12:07pm Fri 13 Dec 13

thesquirrel says...

I always have the music to the 80s TV show "Dynasty" going round in my head when waiting on Carrington bridge. If we alleviate the traffic hold up then I won't need to put up with the music!
I always have the music to the 80s TV show "Dynasty" going round in my head when waiting on Carrington bridge. If we alleviate the traffic hold up then I won't need to put up with the music! thesquirrel

1:17pm Fri 13 Dec 13

whyme says...

So they'll finally get round to dualing the roads - something that needed doing 10 years ago - then they'll add all of the recently mentioned new development between Norton and the Ketch, and we'll be back to square one again.
So they'll finally get round to dualing the roads - something that needed doing 10 years ago - then they'll add all of the recently mentioned new development between Norton and the Ketch, and we'll be back to square one again. whyme

3:04pm Fri 13 Dec 13

copierman says...

They now admit it's congested. Before were they denying it was't .
Flipping ek. What a strange bunch they must be!

Pity we don't have the N American system of democracy were every official even down to the local dog catcher is voted for. There is no accountability here.
They now admit it's congested. Before were they denying it was't . Flipping ek. What a strange bunch they must be! Pity we don't have the N American system of democracy were every official even down to the local dog catcher is voted for. There is no accountability here. copierman

3:18pm Fri 13 Dec 13

CJH says...

copierman wrote:
They now admit it's congested. Before were they denying it was't .
Flipping ek. What a strange bunch they must be!

Pity we don't have the N American system of democracy were every official even down to the local dog catcher is voted for. There is no accountability here.
You mean like we voted for the Police Commissioner? Let's not go there...
[quote][p][bold]copierman[/bold] wrote: They now admit it's congested. Before were they denying it was't . Flipping ek. What a strange bunch they must be! Pity we don't have the N American system of democracy were every official even down to the local dog catcher is voted for. There is no accountability here.[/p][/quote]You mean like we voted for the Police Commissioner? Let's not go there... CJH

5:17pm Fri 13 Dec 13

I'm_not_bitter says...

whyme wrote:
So they'll finally get round to dualing the roads - something that needed doing 10 years ago - then they'll add all of the recently mentioned new development between Norton and the Ketch, and we'll be back to square one again.
No they don't - they get around to dualling SOME of the roads, move the bottlenecks about and improve nothing, but they say it's going to improve things and allow the development.
Guess who suffers? That's right - not them!
[quote][p][bold]whyme[/bold] wrote: So they'll finally get round to dualing the roads - something that needed doing 10 years ago - then they'll add all of the recently mentioned new development between Norton and the Ketch, and we'll be back to square one again.[/p][/quote]No they don't - they get around to dualling SOME of the roads, move the bottlenecks about and improve nothing, but they say it's going to improve things and allow the development. Guess who suffers? That's right - not them! I'm_not_bitter

5:18pm Fri 13 Dec 13

I'm_not_bitter says...

MikeA - what's your point?
MikeA - what's your point? I'm_not_bitter

5:20pm Fri 13 Dec 13

newike says...

Okay the southern link needs improving. although what good it will do if the Carrington bridge isn't a dual carriageway first is anyone's guess. Anyone tried to get through Worcester each day between 3pm and 5.30 pm ? It is worse than the southern link road. As already stated by so many sensible people, until the northern link is completed, nothing will really improve, .The southern link will be jammed, and the city will be jammed, and within ten years 20,000 more house will be built around us ?????
Okay the southern link needs improving. although what good it will do if the Carrington bridge isn't a dual carriageway first is anyone's guess. Anyone tried to get through Worcester each day between 3pm and 5.30 pm ? It is worse than the southern link road. As already stated by so many sensible people, until the northern link is completed, nothing will really improve, .The southern link will be jammed, and the city will be jammed, and within ten years 20,000 more house will be built around us ????? newike

7:56pm Fri 13 Dec 13

copierman says...

CJH wrote:
copierman wrote:
They now admit it's congested. Before were they denying it was't .
Flipping ek. What a strange bunch they must be!

Pity we don't have the N American system of democracy were every official even down to the local dog catcher is voted for. There is no accountability here.
You mean like we voted for the Police Commissioner? Let's not go there...
It was a fine concept until he gave his best mate the deputy's job. Perhaps you can vote for someone else next time now we have all learned something.
[quote][p][bold]CJH[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]copierman[/bold] wrote: They now admit it's congested. Before were they denying it was't . Flipping ek. What a strange bunch they must be! Pity we don't have the N American system of democracy were every official even down to the local dog catcher is voted for. There is no accountability here.[/p][/quote]You mean like we voted for the Police Commissioner? Let's not go there...[/p][/quote]It was a fine concept until he gave his best mate the deputy's job. Perhaps you can vote for someone else next time now we have all learned something. copierman

8:56pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Jabbadad says...

As already said to widen the approach roads to the Carrington Bridge then funnel them back into two lanes suggests that the same planners who designed the Hop Step And Go Nowhere Bus lanes on Newtown Road and Bromyard Road must be involved.
The traffic queuing To & From Malvern has existed for YEARS.
And the fact that Claines has been holding this City to Ransom for all these years over the Northern Link is serious and needs investigating.
Yes I have met those who even live in Hallow who oppose the Link Road since they wish to still look out across the green Fields, who perhaps should have also bought the green fields, but no longer can selfish wishes hold the future of this City and County to ransom. Perhaps a City & Countywide referendum should be held.
To spend a further £38 millions on further tinkering with the Southern Link Bypass is crass planning ignorance and would go well towards the Nothern Link.
And perhaps we should not ask Coun John Smith's expert advice, since he is presiding over the Evesham Bridge contract?
As already said to widen the approach roads to the Carrington Bridge then funnel them back into two lanes suggests that the same planners who designed the Hop Step And Go Nowhere Bus lanes on Newtown Road and Bromyard Road must be involved. The traffic queuing To & From Malvern has existed for YEARS. And the fact that Claines has been holding this City to Ransom for all these years over the Northern Link is serious and needs investigating. Yes I have met those who even live in Hallow who oppose the Link Road since they wish to still look out across the green Fields, who perhaps should have also bought the green fields, but no longer can selfish wishes hold the future of this City and County to ransom. Perhaps a City & Countywide referendum should be held. To spend a further £38 millions on further tinkering with the Southern Link Bypass is crass planning ignorance and would go well towards the Nothern Link. And perhaps we should not ask Coun John Smith's expert advice, since he is presiding over the Evesham Bridge contract? Jabbadad

11:06pm Wed 18 Dec 13

Lew Smoralz says...

Why is it that none of the political parties supports the completion of the Northern Link.

What hold do the people of Claines and Bevere have over the Lib/Lab/Con party. Even more disappointing... why won't UKIP, our bright hope for the future, come out and support the Northern Link.

How can 5% of the Worcester population hold the remaining 95% to ransom like this? Why won't the Worcester political parties give the people of Worcester what they are crying out for?
Why is it that none of the political parties supports the completion of the Northern Link. What hold do the people of Claines and Bevere have over the Lib/Lab/Con party. Even more disappointing... why won't UKIP, our bright hope for the future, come out and support the Northern Link. How can 5% of the Worcester population hold the remaining 95% to ransom like this? Why won't the Worcester political parties give the people of Worcester what they are crying out for? Lew Smoralz

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