Dual the A5 campaign: Join the Shropshire Star's fight
The Shropshire Star is today launching a petition calling for the A5 north of Shrewsbury to be turned into a dual carriageway.
Accidents, many of them with tragic consequences, and nose-to-tail traffic plague the trunk road which carries tens of thousands of vehicles a day.
The Shropshire Star believes the road is inadequate to carry the volume of vehicles that travel along the route every day, damaging lives and businesses across the county and the Welsh border.
The campaign has been backed by North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson, who has been calling for the road to be dualled since he became the MP for the area in 1997.
He said: “I am delighted that the Shropshire Star is supporting this campaign and it could not come at a more suitable time. Last November, it was announced that regions across the country are set to benefit from investment for transport.”
Mr Paterson said it was vital that the A5 be included in that investment, describing it as “an absolute priority”.
He estimates the cost to the public purse as a result of the accidents on the road since 1992 is in the region of £220m.
The 18-mile stretch of the A5 from Montford Bridge to the border at Chirk, with the exception of the Nesscliffe bypass, is the only section of single carriageway road between Dover and Holyhead, a key strategic route linking the UK to Ireland.
As well as the impact on safety, the road is also damaging the economy. Shropshire Council’s deputy leader, Steve Charmley said: “We need this road dualled to help our economy,” adding that it was “no longer fit for purpose”.
The Shropshire Star is calling on readers to sign the petition so that it can be presented to the Government as part of the ‘Dual It!’ campaign.
Earlier this year roads minister John Hayes visited the area to see the problems for himself. The Star is calling on him to include the A5 in his Road Investment Strategy and upgrade it to a dual carriageway from Montford Bridge to Chirk.
We believe it is time that Shropshire’s major north south, arterial route, was upgraded to the standard it deserves.
Owen Paterson MP: This is an absolute priority for us all
Since 1991, there have been more than 1,785 casualties on the A5 north of Shrewsbury up to the Welsh border at Chirk.
At the last count, 1,407 of these were slight, 320 were serious and 58 were fatal.
Sadly, the latest figures may be worse as they will be updated at the end of September.
These accidents disproportionately affect local people.
Every death and injury is absolutely tragic, having a catastrophic impact on the victims’ families and friends, in many cases for life.
We all know that frequently traffic on the A5 is either stationary or reduced to a crawl with real damage to our local economy.
I first called for the A5 to be dualled along its whole length soon after I was elected in 1997 and I have been campaigning ever since.
I am delighted that the Shropshire Star is again supporting this campaign and it could not come at a more suitable time.
Last November, it was announced that regions across the country are set to benefit from investment for transport.
I organised Roads Ministers Andrew Jones MP and John Hayes MP to visit the area in May 2016 and March this year, respectively. I am extremely grateful to the representatives from every part of the community who attended both meetings and provided compelling evidence.
The Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure for the Welsh Assembly, Ken Skates AM, agrees with me that we must dual the A5.
We need cross-party and cross-border support and so I am delighted that we have his support going forward.
I meet the Secretary of State for Transport and his Junior Ministers regularly and I am looking forward to highlighting the Star’s support for my campaign.
This is an absolute priority for the whole area; this time we must pull it off.