Dualling A5 in Shropshire back on the political agenda with new PM
The dualling of Shrophire's A5 could be back on the political agenda when the new look government returns in September.
North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson is to seek talks with the new transport minister, Grant Shapps, following interest in the trunk route by the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who once lived at West Felton, close to the A5, has expressed interest in a scheme to turn the road, north of Shrewsbury to the Welsh border, into a dual carriageway.
Mr Paterson said Mr Johnson was briefed about the safety problems of the road when he was in Ellesmere earlier this month.
"We talked about the problems that Shropshire has and I mentioned the campaign to dual the A5. He used to live in West Felton and said he know how important the A5 is as a strategic route."
The MP said he was keen to get the road high on the list of improvement priorities.
"I will be asking for an urgent meeting with the new transport minister, Grant Shapps, to brief him on the A5," he said.
The stretch of the trunk road is one of the few sections of the A5, which runs between London and Holyhead, to be single carriageway.
Figures released last year showed that 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.
The road is seen as a vital link between the West Midlands and Wales.
Over the last decade three roads ministers have visited the A5, invited by Mr Paterson and campaigners for its dualling.
They met with councillors, business owners, hauliers and the agricultural community which all say that the road's single carriageway affects their business and the local economy.
The Shropshire Star has been a leading light in the campaign to dual the road, gaining thousands of names on a petition calling on the government to make money available to dual the A5.
Shropshire councillor, Steve Davenport, has also been working behind the scene to bring improvements to the road.
Earlier this year the portfolio holder for highways and transport, gave a speech at Westminster last week at a meeting attended by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Jesse Norman, under-secretary of state for transport.
He said getting the A5 dualled around Oswestry was his “next battle” after helping to secure £54 million government funding for Shrewsbury’s North West Relief Road.
Councillor Davenport was speaking at Westminster as part of a visit by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, which promotes and supports businesses across the region.