As anyone who works in or travels to Chester is aware the A483 Wrexham bypass hits a bottleneck at the ‘Posthouse’ roundabout by Chester Business Park where it meets the A55. Thankfully this might not be for much longer!
There are plans to reduce congestion by widening the A55 eastbound exit slip road and parts of the circulatory carriageway as well as installing traffic signals to the A483 southbound approach. The programme of works is set to cost £8,000,000 and is due to start – and finish – in 2014.
This is being associated with the phrase “supports the creation of 11,650 jobs and 1,770 homes by 2020.” We have no detail on these jobs nor where 1,770 homes are due to be built.
The £8 million investment is part of a £217 million programme to remove bottlenecks and keep traffic moving on the nation’s motorways and major A roads. The economic benefit of the schemes has been put at around £3 billion. The announcement brings the total number of schemes to receive investment from the Government’s pinch point fund to 65. A third stage of projects will be announced next year.
The Secretary of State said: “These £217 million road improvements prove the Government’s determination to accelerate growth and cut congestion.
“Keeping traffic moving is vital to securing prosperity. By removing bottlenecks and improving access to local enterprise zones, key international trading ports and communities, these road schemes will help get people to and from work and power the economy.”
Funds have been allocated nationally to the Highways Agency to undertake focused improvements to the strategic road network.
Wrexham MP Ian Lucas, who earlier this year pushed transport Ministers in the Commons to tackle the notorious bottleneck, has said he will watch the proposals carefully. He has also written to the Ministry of Transport for more details about their plans and has said their initial description of the work raised questions.
Mr Lucas said: “I have been pushing Transport Ministers for a long time on this issue and raised it in the Commons months ago. While the Welsh Government has invested in Wrexham and boosted our infrastructure with the new Industrial Estate link road, the cross-border connection where the A583 and A55 join has been a problem for some time and has been calling for Government investment.
“The news that the Highways Agency is considering this investment is welcome – however, I am concerned that their proposals appear to include adding further traffic signals on the A483 Southbound. The concerns that drivers have raised with me centre on the roundabouts themselves, rather than the lack of signals at these roundabouts. I will be writing to Ministers at the Department of Transport to ask for more information about their proposals and will watch this project carefully.”
Aled Roberts, Lib Dem Regional Assembly Member for North Wales said “Like everyone who uses the A55/A483 junction I welcome the announcement of an £8m improvement scheme. My only concern is that this scheme provides the most cost effective proposal which will deal with all the delays motorists are experiencing in the long term.
“There can be no doubt that problems with this junction holds Wrexham back economically. Widening the exit slips roads will help but I am concerned about the addition of traffic lights on the A483. Experts in traffic management have studied this junction in the past and I would like to know about their views on this scheme before it giving it my whole hearted support.”
Yesterday saw us live reporting via our @wrexham twitter account congestion on that junction – however not the usual rushhour, but due to lane closures for the Chester Marathon. Road users were delayed for upto 45 minutes with many turning around and abandoning their journey.