60-mile diversion for A49 traffic in Shropshire because of roadworks

Traffic will be diverted 60 miles off the usual route through south Shropshire as work takes place on level crossing, it has been revealed.

The level crossing at Onibury. Photo: Google StreetView
The level crossing at Onibury. Photo: Google StreetView

Heavy good vehicles and other traffic travelling between Shrewsbury and Hereford will be directed via Bridgnorth and Kidderminster, rather than take a shorter diversion from the A49 down country roads between Craven Arms and Ludlow in order to avoid works at Onibury.

The official diversion route has been put in place for the rebuilding of Onibury level crossing, which will mean a full 24 hour closure of the A49 around the site from July 1 to 10, though motorists will be able to use shorter routes around the closure.

Shropshire Council bosses have now agreed to take another look at the situation.

But concerns have been raised over the length of the diversion, which sticks to major A roads rather than using B roads around the area making it a very long roundabout trip for commuters.

Andy Boddington, Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow North, said: "That’s a 57-mile journey taking one hour 33 minutes, compared to the usual journey up the A49 of 31 miles taking 44 minutes.

"There is an alternative route via Culmington that has been used before. It was, for example, used by Highways England while resurfacing the A49 last year. This is just two miles longer than the A49 route.

"This diversion will disturb the residents of Culmington village, but the route via Kidderminster could damage the economy of towns along the A49, including Ludlow, that benefit from passing trade.

"The other issue that Shropshire Council does not seem to have considered is that roadworks commence on the Bridgnorth bypass on July 4. Long delays were expected even before the diversion around Onibury."

However, he said, Shropshire Council's newly appointed portfolio holder for highways, Councillor Steve Davenport, has said that he will be look at the Onibury closure.

A spokesman for Shropshire Council added: “We’re currently talking to partners about the possibility of delaying the start date of the planned A458 (Bridgnorth bypass) improvements works to avoid a clash with the closure of the A49 at Onibury. These discussions are ongoing.”

Hannah McCarthy, speaking for Network Rail, said: "Between now and the closure, we will be talking to the public and local businesses to raise awareness and help people plan ahead.

"There is never a good time to carry out this type of work and we apologise for the disruption this essential upgrade will cause," she said.

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