Calls to suspend A4440 Southern Link Road revamp

Malvern Gazette: Worcester's A4440 Southern Link Road Worcester's A4440 Southern Link Road

CALLS are being made to suspend a £38 million revamp of Worcester's A4440 Southern Link Road - amid claims the project is "unpopular" and "discredited".

Councillor Richard Udall, who represents St John's, says Worcestershire County Council should halt the project before it starts this spring.

Instead, he says the focus should be on securing funding for the northern link road - on plans which were drawn up four years ago but abandoned.

Back in 2010 the council revealed proposals for a new link road running from the A449 Claines roundabout to the A44 Crown East island.

Linking Dines Green to Barbourne, it would have included a new bridge crossing the river severn at the northern end of the scheme, near Bevere island.

Since then the project has slipped off the agenda, not least because the costs are likely to top £150 million.

Coun Udall, speaking during a full council meeting, said: "There is no scenario where the part-dualling of the Southern Link Road can realistically reduce congestion without the Carrington Bridge being included.

"This is fast becoming a controversial, unpopular and discredited scheme."

He called on the council to suspend the project, but it was rejected by the Conservative leadership.

In the spring, work will start on an £8 million, year-long overhaul to double the size of the A4440 Ketch island, in St Peter's, and create a new slip road for drivers turning left off Bath Road towards Norton island.

The revamp is being part-funded by the Department for Transport.

The council then plans to dual the rest of the link up to Whittington island, finishing by early 2018.

Carrington Bridge will not be touched, although the council says it does aim to finish the job off after 2018.

Due to the costs of a northern link road it will only ever become a reality if a developer stumps up some of the money in return for housing.

Councillor Simon Geraghty, deputy leader and cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure, said: "We're doing this in an entirely sensible way, we've got funding from the Department for Transport on that basis.

"What I would say is that the northern link road isn't a silver bullet - if we ever got funding for that we know there will be more development, more houses down that side of the city.

"It's not the silver bullet to Worcester's congestion problems."

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