Shrewsbury North West Relief Road: New £12 million route moves closer
Final plans for a new £12 million road for Shrewsbury are ready to be submitted to Shropshire Council.
Members of the public had a chance to view the updated designs for the Oxon link road at a two-day exhibition ahead of the plans being submitted later this month.
If it gets past council planners, it is anticipated the scheme will be open to traffic by 2021.
The new road will connect the A5 bypass to a roundabout on Holyhead Road via a new exit off Churncote Island. Another new roundabout will be built in the middle of the link road, connecting it to Welshpool Road via Little Oxon Lane, but Calcott Lane, Shepherd’s Lane and Clayton Way will be severed.
WATCH: Fly over the new road
Council project manager Matt Johnson said: “When this road is open, the traffic that is currently on Welshpool Road will be on a road that is fit for purpose. None of that traffic stops and spends any money, it’s like living on a motorway.”
The link road will pave the way for the construction of the rest of the Shrewsbury West Sustainable Urban Extension over the coming years.
This will include 750 new homes, employment land, and a ‘healthcare campus’.
Although not directly connected with ambitions for the North West Relief Road, the road will be ready and waiting to be connected if those plans come to fruition.
Meanwhile a government minister has said he "recognises the concern" over the desire for Shrewsbury's North West Relief Road to be approved.
Jesse Norman, parliamentary under secretary for transport made the comments when he responded to a question from Shrewsbury & Atcham MP, Daniel Kawczynski – a long time campaigner for the North West Relief road.
The minister also confirmed that the bid for funding for the road, which has been submitted by Shropshire Council is being "actively" considered.
The construction of the road would complete the final section of circular road around Shrewsbury. It has been suggested that it would reduce congestion in the town although environmental campaigners have voiced considerable opposition to the project.
Speaking to Mr Norman in parliament last week Mr Kawczynski said: "Shropshire Council has submitted a very effective business case, supported by our local enterprise partnership, for the funding of the North West relief road in Shrewsbury, which is the final bit of the circular around our town.
"What steps is he taking to ensure that the scheme is looked upon favourably."
In response the minister said: "My honourable friend has been a tireless campaigner for that road over the years. I reassure him that we recognise the concern that he indicates.
"The department has received the funding bid for the Shrewsbury north-west relief road, and it is being actively and currently considered."
The business case for the project was submitted to the government in December and outlines the need for the road, which if it goes ahead, would link the planned Oxon Link Road with Battlefield.
Initial costings for the road had been estimated to be in the region of £104 million but the business case has slashed that to £71.5 million, of which the council will contribute £17 million.
It had been anticipated that the council's contribution would be approximately £21 million.
The authority is asking the government to pay the remainder of the cost from a fund set up for large local transport schemes.
Steve Davenport, Shropshire Council's portfolio holder for highways and transport, said huge amounts of work had gone into the business case.
Speaking on its submission he said: "We have given this our best shot. It is out of our hands now. We will get an announcement on this in the government's Spring Statement.
"We have been talking about this for 50 years. There is nothing new in it, the route has not changed dramatically. Shrewsbury needs this road. It will free up traffic flow and improve air quality. Shrewsbury is an ancient town and it needs to be kept that way.
"The work that was carried out on the business case was funded by a £1 million grant from the LEP. The business case has reduced the costings of the road from £107 million to £71.5 million. The maximum contribution from Shropshire Council will be £17 million.
"We have to remember that other counties are bidding for this money from the Department for Transport but we feel that we have put a strong case forward. We are feeling very positive about it and we are in the best position and we hope we will have a positive outcome."