Shropshire village ‘top option’ for HS2 work traffic
HS2 officials insist sending construction traffic through the village of Woore remains the most “suitable” route for the controversial scheme.
After exploring other options they said the route along the A51 was still the best option– after exploring others.
It comes despite residents and councillors in the village, near Market Drayton, forming an action group against the plans – backed by North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson.
The current proposed route would see more than 200 HGVs every day travel from the A51 and turn on to the A525 at Woore.
And campaigners are concerned about the impact the extra traffic would have on their village. But in a report, HS2 said other options have been explored, including an access from the M6 via Keele services as well as sending traffic through Madeley, Keele and Newcastle-under-Lyme.
The report states: “A number of construction routes were considered as part of the design development of the scheme in order to avoid local roads and country lanes.
“The proposed route through Woore is currently considered the most suitable route available. “The impacts of construction traffic are understandably a particular concern for residents who live or work near the proposed Phase 2a route.HS2 is committed to ensuring that the adverse effects identified within the environmental statement are minimised, as far as reasonably practicable.”
HS2 said the proposed scheme makes provision in Woore for road modifications to ensure that HGVs can safely use and pass each other along the A51 and A525 route.
“The addition of several passing bays along the A525, and some localised widening to the A525, would allow two large vehicles to pass safely,” the report states.
“The peak of the construction activity is predicted to generate daily construction traffic flows of 274 HGVs northbound and southbound along the A51. The duration of this peak is forecast for two months,” said the report. “The construction period from site set-up, main civil construction works to rail systems work completion is proposed to last approximately four years.”
Residents and councillors in Woore say there are other ways which wouldto stop the need to route construction traffic through the parish – including creating a continuous tunnel from Whitmore Heath to beyond Madeley.
Mr Paterson has also pressed transport secretary Chris Grayling on creating the tunnel extension.
The HS2 report adds: “The Phase 2a environmental statement includes proposals for two short tunnels at Madeley and Whitmore Heath. These proposals have undergone significant assessment through HS2 Ltd and have been consulted widely. HS2 is aware that some stakeholders have expressed concern regarding the Phase 2a route in the Whitmore Heath to Madeley area and would like the Whitmore Heath and Madeley tunnels extended.”
The new high-speed rail network will run from London to Birmingham and to Manchester and Leeds.
Ministers say it will improve the transport network and boost the economy, but there has been controversy about the exact route of the line and its effect on those living near it.
The initial plan is for a new railway line between London and the West Midlands carrying 400m-long trains with as many as 1,100 seats per train.