Politicians press over need to dual the 'totally inadequate' A5

Politicians have again been pressing the government about the need to dual the "totally inadequate" A5.

North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson, Councillor Steve Davenport, the cabinet member for highways at Shropshire Council, and Midlands Connect director Maria Machancoses, joined Sir Peter Hendy CBE, chair of the Union Connectivity Review, to push the issue with the Department for Transport.

The review has been asked to come up with suggestions for improvements to major roads and transport links across the UK.

The discussion focused on road and rail improvements that would reduce issues that affect cross-border journeys between Wales and England – such as dualling the A5 at Oswestry.

Previous studies, including the Midlands Connect/Shropshire Council ‘Cross Border Strategy’ (2019) and The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Strategic Transport Corridors in the Marches Report (2016) have highlighted the lengthy journey times and significant safety concerns that affect those using the roads on either side of the border.

They have highlighted how upgrades to the the A5 would also support the freight and logistics sector.

The current routes to the Port of Holyhead in Wales, a strategic international gateway serving the UK, Ireland and wider Europe, struggle with the levels of traffic.

Support

At present, travel west of the M54 and A5 dual carriageway at Shrewsbury is hindered by a single-carriageway route, running between the A5 Shrewsbury bypass and the A483.

Mr Paterson said: "The Government's proposal to improve connectivity between the regions of the UK with a network of key strategic roads similar to the European TEN model is a really good initiative which I totally support.

"The A5 links the Republic of Ireland, the industrial areas of North Wales, North West England and Merseyside with the West Midlands with the South and Eastern and Channel ports to Europe.

"It is a key strategic road which is totally inadequate. We had a good meeting with Sir Peter Hendy CBE and agreed to write to him strongly the supporting this initiative."

Director of Midlands Connect Maria Machancoses added: “The Midlands is at the heart of the UK and our recommendations to the Union Connectivity Review highlight the critical transport routes that require funding. In the last five years, we have worked with our partners to make the case for greater cross-border connectivity, unlocking the economic potential of the Midlands and the UK.

“The evidence we have shared is backed by our region’s political and business leaders. With a focus on improving infrastructure as part of the Government’s ‘build back better’ ambition, we want the review to consider our recommendations for delivery as quickly as possible.

“The discussions with the Sir Peter Hendy were positive and we look forward to continuing our engagement with his officials and the Department for Transport.”

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