Cars could be driving on North West Relief Road within two years after plans submitted

It has been nearly 30 years in the making but if council proposals go ahead as planned then cars will be driving on the North West Relief Road within two years.

How the newly included viaduct could look
How the newly included viaduct could look

The project would effectively complete the ring road around Shrewsbury connecting the A5 at Welshpool Road roundabout to the west of Shrewsbury to the Ellesmere Road roundabout to the town’s north.

The council has hailed the project as vital for the future of Shrewsbury, and the wider county, although it has met with criticism from environmental campaigners, who argue it is an outdated solution.

The proposal has changed since it was shown to the public, with the previous plan including an embankment where the road crosses the River Severn at Shelton, intended to act as a dam and alleviate flooding in the area.

But the final submission no longer includes the proposal, and replaces it with a 668-metre viaduct instead.

Steve Davenport, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “I’m pleased that the application has now been submitted and we are moving on to the next phase.

“It’s been an extremely long journey – one which has taken nearly 30 years. It’s a very complex and technical application and a huge amount of work has gone into getting it to this point.

“Although we’ve carried out many consultations over the years and we continue to have conversations with stakeholders and landowners, this application is a vital next step and will allow the whole community to give their views on it.”

How the newly included viaduct could look

Shropshire Council leader Peter Nutting said the project would have significant benefits.

He said: “To me Shrewsbury town centre is a wonderful environment that is really attractive to visitors and tourists.

"People like to spend time there but Smithfield road is a complete nightmare at the moment and is a barrier that stops people getting into town.

"This will take 30 per cent of the traffic off Smithfield Road which will change the whole environment.

“If we are going to try and do things with pedestrianisation and cycling then we need fewer cars.”

The application will now be subject to the standard planning process, although there is potential for it to be the subject of a public inquiry.

The cost of constructing the road, which also includes the former Oxon Link Road, is estimated to be £87.1m.

How the newly included viaduct could look

The council said £54m will come from the Department of Transport with the Marches LEP contributing £4.2m for the section formerly known as the Oxon Link Road.

The council will be required to pay for the outstanding £29m but says it will do so through developer and other contributions.

The authority says that the road will cut journey times by up to 14 minutes for drivers travelling through or across Shrewsbury and will provide “a direct, high speed link across the north of the town”.

Wider impacts, such as reducing traffic on the A5 have also been cited, with a statement from the council saying it will “reduce traffic at peak-time bottlenecks on the A5 such as Dobbie’s Island and on the B4397, a well-known “rabbit run” route that affects communities including Baschurch, Ryton XI Towns and Walford Heath.”

The application is expected to go live on the council’s planning portal on March 1, at which point people will be able to respond to the proposal.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News