'Great news' as dualling of SLR takes giant step forward ahead of schedule
Traffic is flowing up and down two lanes either side of the A4440 Southern Link Road stretch between the Whittington and Norton roundabouts with work to dual the highway ahead of schedule.
As part of the major long-term scheme to dual the road from Whittington to Powick the third phase of the project, for the Whittington-Norton section, eastbound (uphill) traffic passes under the original railway bridge while westbound (downhill) traffic goes under the railway bridge extension.
Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet has also approved £7 million of additional spending for two footbridges crossing the link road and a farm accommodation bridge at Upper Battenhall Farm.
The Cabinet member with responsibility for Economy and Infrastructure, Conservative Ken Pollock, said it was “great news” that the dualling work was ahead of schedule.
He added: “It’s also great news that we can move forward with the next part of this phase of the scheme, which includes the footbridges.
“This is a key part of our plan to support the flow of non-motorised traffic to and from the city and Worcestershire Parkway station, once completed.”
The temporary pedestrian crossing immediately to the east of the Norton roundabout will remain in place until a footbridge, which will also be suitable for cyclists, has been completed.
Funding needed to construct the Broomhall Way footbridge, which will be paid for by the developers of the South Worcester Urban Extension – the 2,200 new homes earmarked for land between St Peter’s and Kempsey – was approved by the county council’s cabinet.
Cabinet members have also agreed the funding necessary to install a farm bridge east of the Battenhall railway bridge and the Crookbarrow Way footbridge, immediately to the west of the railway bridge.
The Crookbarrow Way footbridge is intended for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders and will link St Peter’s and Brockhill Village, as well as forming an important link in the National Cycle Network and providing cycle access to the new Worcestershire Parkway railway station.
It is hoped that all three bridges will be completed within the next 18 months.
Footbridges are vital for future development
The importance of approving the £7million of funding for the Broomhall Way and Crookbarrow Way footbridges and the Upper Battenhall Farm accommodation bridge as part of the A4440 Southern Link Road dualling was explained in a paper submitted to Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet.
The “rationale” for the dualling and “associated structures” was based on accessibility, housing and economic elements in line with the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP), adopted by Worcester city and Malvern Hills and Wychavon district councils.
In the paper to the county council cabinet it was stated: “The consequences of failing to complete the scheme would seriously affect the benefits…particularly the enabling of house building and employment land, improvements in highway capacity, reductions in congestion, improvements in air quality and the delivery of the various factors that support economic growth, including the council’s corporate ambitions of Worcestershire being Open for Business."
The £3.5million cost of the Broomhall Way footbridge will ultimately be funded by developers Seven Capital, St Modwen and Welbeck through Section 106 agreements, with Worcestershire County Council constructing it.
The £3.5million required to build the Crookbarrow Way footbridge and the Battenhall Upper Farm accommodation bridge will be added to the capital programme, with £500,000 vired from the existing Worcester Transport Strategy Capital Programme provision.