The road many thought would never be built clears the final hurdle

It is set to be the single biggest piece of infrastructure that Shropshire Council has ever delivered.

And motorists can expect to be driving along by North West Relief Road (NWRR) by March 2024.

It was the road that many people thought would never come to fruition but within the next five years Shrewsbury will have a complete ring road encircling the town – taking traffic away from its narrow medieval streets and rural lanes.

Over the years, business leaders, politicians and townspeople have called for a road to be built, and the concept of the North West Relief Road was born.

One of those most keen to see the road developed was the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) - a group dedicated to driving growth across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire.

Graham Wynn, chairman of the LEP, said: “This scheme is a crucial part of strategic plans for the region’s economic development being drawn up by the LEP and its partners.

“Improved infrastructure and communications are vital if we are to realise our ambitions to grow the region’s economy to £23.8billion by 2038 and create 58,700 new jobs.

"This scheme, for which we secured the funding to develop the master plan, will help us create a transport network which is fit for purpose for years to come and which drives that growth.”

Carriageway

The road will provide a new single carriageway road linking the northern and western parts of Shrewsbury.

The scheme has been decades in the planning and in 2010 a public consultation, organised by Shropshire Council, was held.

It was originally projected to cost £102 million, but after a comprehensive spending review by the Department for Transport that figure is now down to £71m.

The direct route will reduce travelling time for those going between the north and north west of Shrewsbury.

A peak hour journey from the A5 at Churncote to the A49 at Battlefield will take six minutes using the NWRR instead of 20 minutes through the town centre or 15 minutes on the bypass.

Improve

Richard Sheehan, chief executive of Shropshire Chamber of Commerce, said: "The NWRR will significantly improve the travelling time between the business parks, especially for young employees in their quest for work in the town, increasing use of public transport which in turn will ultimately reduce the congestion throughout Shrewsbury centre.

"All will help to develop the infrastructure in the town, making it a more attractive offer for inward investment, providing economic growth and bolstering the already thriving business community of the town.”

In 2017 Shropshire Council undertook a fresh consultation to get a measure of opinion on the scheme ahead of a new business plan being put forward to the Government department.

The consultation concluded that the majority of the local people, businesses and stakeholders who responded are in favour of building the NWRR and that this majority has increased significantly compared to the 2010 consultation.

In December 2017 Shropshire Council submitted a scheme Outline Business Case under the Department of Transport’s Large Local Majors funding programme.

Under the new scheme the road will be a single carriageway all-purpose road, bounded on both sides by open space and will include a shared footway and cycleway on its southern side. There will be a 60mph limit and bridges and crossings will be provided for pedestrians and cyclists.

It will include a new bridge over the River Severn and its flood plain, and a new bridge over the Shrewsbury-Chester railway line and will connect to existing roads with new roundabouts.

The scheme includes landscaping, planting and environmental mitigation work including the acquisition of Hencott Pool to enable habitat improvements.

The road will end at the existing Battlefield Link Road in the north, and the planned Oxon Link Road in the west. These roads were designed as precursors of a NWRR, and provide access to business areas. The Oxon Link Road, which is currently going through Shropshire Council’s planning process, is included in the Marches LEP’s £75m Growth Deal and will be delivered by 2021 as part of the proposed western Sustainable Urban Extension.

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