Work to begin on £33 million phase of Southern Link Road improvements

Worcestershire County Council began work this week (w/c 5 October) to improve the Norton Roundabout in Worcester, as part of the next stage of the multi-million pound A4440 Worcester Southern Link Road improvement scheme.

The programme is one of the biggest upgrades to the road infrastructure in the County for many years. The scheme 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.

The Southern Link Road is used by around 30,000 vehicles each weekday and suffers from severe congestion at peak times. Modelling forecasts a worsening picture where doing nothing would result in a 30 per cent increase in journey times by 2026. An extensive public engagement exercise about this next phase was carried out during winter 2014 which helped formulate the final detail of the scheme.

In order to keep this important route open and to reduce disruption for road users, traffic management arrangements will be in place and overnight road closures will be kept to a minimum. In addition, contractors’ vehicles will be prohibited from using residential areas to minimise disturbance for local residents.

The next phase of work will focus on:

  • Improvements to Norton Roundabout, after which work will start on dual-tracking of the Southern Link Road between Whittington and Ketch roundabouts.
  • A new dedicated left-hand turn from Whittington Road (from M5 junction seven) to the westbound Crookbarrow Way (A4440) – thereby removing the current “give way” arrangement on the Whittington Roundabout.
  • A new bridleway bridge crossing the road suitable for pedestrians, cyclists and horse-riders.

The start of the next phase will be the reconfiguration of the Norton Roundabout. As part of the work, an earth bund will be installed on Broomhall Green and on the north-eastern side of the roundabout to serve as a buffer. The existing bund on the north side of the A4440 east of the roundabout will be in-filled and planted up with additional vegetation.

The benefits of delivering the next phase of work include:

  • Improving transport links and infrastructure, which will boost the local economy.
  • Contributing towards reducing traffic congestion in the city centre, residential areas and on the Southern Link Road.
  • Reducing journey times.
  • Improving journey time reliability.

Funding for the improvements comes from a number of sources including £16.4 million from the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership as part of the Government’s Growth Deal and £16.3million provisionally allocated from the South Worcestershire Urban Extension development programme.

Cllr Simon Geraghty, Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills and Infrastructure, said: “The overall improvements to the Southern Link Road make this the largest project of its kind for a generation with over £40m of total committed investment, including £33 million for this phase.

“This next key milestone takes us a step closer to dualling one of the most important strategic transport routes in the county. By improving transport links and infrastructure, motorists will benefit from reduced congestion and travel times. This will also have a positive impact on boosting the local economy.

“Our intention is to keep disruption for local residents and motorists to a minimum while this essential work takes place. Schemes such as this are a crucial part of our Open for Business strategy and will contribute to our long term aim of building a World Class Worcestershire.”

Gary Woodman, Executive Director of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We know how important the Southern Link Road improvements are to local businesses and this scheme is therefore the largest single investment made to date through the Worcestershire Growth Deal.

“These works will deliver significant long-term benefits for Worcestershire’s economy as well as improving the highways network for local residents. We thank motorists for their patience during this time and we are assured that the highways authority will be working to keep disruption to a minimum.”