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Shropshire Star comment: Dualling A5 should be priority

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

There are other things going on than you-know-what, and some are literally matters of life and death.

One of those is the continued campaign to see the A5 north of Shrewsbury improved by turning it into a dual carriageway along its length.

New Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he wants to showcase his “exciting” programme of non-Brexit policies in the Queen’s Speech. So here is an example of something he can do which will benefit the nation for decades.

The A5 is a key highway, a principal route into North Wales and, if you flip that round, it is a principal route into England for trade from the Irish Republic, which will be one of our main EU trading partners in the near future when Britain leaves the bloc.

It is ripe for an investment which will complete the job of bringing it up to modern standards for a heavily-trafficked road along its length.

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There have been improvements in the past, and motorists who regularly use the route know when they are coming to one of the improved stretches along which traffic flows more easily.

But there are other stretches that belong to an earlier era. For instance, try pulling out onto the A5 at the Shotatton crossroads and you may end up wishing you had sought an alternative junction. There has been a campaign to do something about the A5 for years.

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Prospects of anything actually happening have waxed and waned. In the austerity years it looked a long shot. However, now there is a new PM with a new agenda, which presents a new opportunity.

It is in this atmosphere councillor Steve Davenport, Shropshire Council cabinet member for highways, is hoping to set up a meeting with the new transport minister, Grant Shapps, while adopting an optimistic tone.

If Shropshire’s roads could be improved simply by having talks, the county would enjoy a five-star network. What actually talks in these circumstances is money.

Shropshire has an excellent case. Improving the single carriageway stretch of the A5 makes perfect sense. At the moment it is a mish-mash, and dualling it along its length would provide coherence, and extend the fast transport infrastructure from the M6 all the way to North Wales, via the M54 motorway.

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