Worcestershire County Council is forging ahead with a multi-million pound bid which if successful will fund the final phase of the Southern Link Road scheme.
The county council is submitting an application to the Department for Transport (DfT) this week to secure the £70million Phase Four section of the A4440 Southern Link Road programme – which will see the entire route dualled from Whittington to Powick. Carrington Bridge is included in the final phase and is seen as the most important piece of the jigsaw.
It comes as council leader Simon Geraghty says he remains confident about the economic prosperity of the county in the wake of Britain’s exit from the EU.
Cllr Geraghty, Leader of Worcestershire County Council, said: “Our determination to secure investment for improvements to Carrington Bridge and the dualling of the Southern Link Road in Worcester, represent the next phase of our plans to improve the county’s infrastructure to enable the local economy to continue to thrive.
“Worcestershire has one of the fastest growing economies in the country. This proposal, which we have developed in partnership with the LEP, demonstrates the confidence that we have in Worcestershire’s economy and in its ability to continue to grow and to create new jobs and opportunities for people who live and work in the county.”
Recent examples of key economic projects include the county council’s investment into a new railway station for Bromsgrove, the further expansion of the Malvern Hills Science Park and the investment of an extra £12million into improving local roads.
Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The importance of this bid cannot be underestimated as it is crucial to support our businesses and we recognise that the economic benefit of our £16.4m investment in the Southern Link Road through the Government’s Growth Deal will only be fully realised with the completion of the dualling of Carrington Bridge.
“Furthermore, this scheme is fully supported by partners and businesses, as well as neighbouring areas with Herefordshire Council and Marches LEP endorsing the bid, and so the fact that the County Council is submitting this proposal today is good news for the whole region.”
The Local Majors Programme submission is part of the ongoing dialogue between Worcestershire County Council, the Worcestershire LEP and the DfT. It could be announced in the Autumn Statement whether the funding needed to dual Carrington Bridge has been secured.
Making improvements to the Southern Link Road, one of Worcestershire’s busiest routes which sees 30,000 vehicles travel along it every day, has been identified as one of the highest priorities in terms of tackling both current and future levels of congestion which is a significant barrier to economic growth.
There are a host of benefits including vastly reducing journey times between Worcester and Malvern, improving transport links and infrastructure, which will in turn boost the local economy. Dualling of Carrington Bridge will improve productivity of the region and provide better access to the city’s growth sites west of Worcester, such as Malvern Hills Science Park which is home to a cluster of cyber businesses, QinetiQ and the National Cyber Skills Centre as well as supporting employment and housing growth in nearby areas. The scheme is expected to improve employment opportunities across the county, by increasing the size of the accessible work force and increasing the number of accessible jobs.
The Southern Link Road provides an important link between the M5, South and West Worcester, Great Malvern, the wider Malvern Hills District, Ledbury, Upton and Herefordshire. Phase one and two are already complete and included improvements to both the Whittington Roundabout and Ketch Roundabout and Phase Three is currently underway.