Two-year work begins on Stafford Western Access Route
Work has started on the multi-million pound Western Access Route in Stafford.
The road, which will connect the A34 Foregate Street at the north of the town and the A518 Newport Road to the west, is due to be completed in the autumn of 2021.
It is being built in a bid to boost growth and ease congestion throughout Stafford ahead of 1,500 new homes being constructed near Stafford Castle and the M6 on the town's western edge.
There will be some road and lane closures as the route is built but council bosses say disruption will be kept to a minimum thanks to the majority of work being carried out away from current roads.
According to Staffordshire County Council, which is leading the scheme, the only road closures will be on Doxey Road and Greyfriars at its junction with Madford Retail Park.
Doxey Road will have to close for four weeks in 2021 but by then a new section of the road between Doxey Road to Castlefields will be open, allowing traffic to take a short diversion onto Newport Road.
Some lanes will be closed on Foregate Street throughout the work but traffic will still be able to flow.
The Access Route work means two major road schemes are ongoing in the area, with reduced speed limits on the M6 while it is turned into a smart motorway between junctions 13 and 14.
What is the Stafford Western Access Route?
The single-carriageway Access Route is expected to improve traffic flow in Gaol Square, Newport Road east of Kingsway, Station Road, Chell Road, the Foregate Street south of the scheme and Doxey Road.
Amey Highways is carrying out the work on behalf of the county council and the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Enterprise Partnership, which secured more than £15 million of funding through the Government’s Local Growth Fund.
Taylor Wimpey, which is behind the new housing development, is contributing a similar amount towards the cost of the road.
The route will start at Madford Retail Park on Foregate Street and pass between the Lidl and Tenpin buildings before crossing the River Sow and Doxey Road car park on a low viaduct .
A new section of road will be constructed between the West Coast Main Line bridge and the Martin Drive/Rose Hill roundabout in Castlefields and various existing roads will be enlarged or modified.
As part of the scheme there will be:
- A new viaduct and embankment between Greyfriars Place and Doxey Road crossing the River Sow
- A new enlarged roundabout along Doxey Road adjacent to Doxey Road Car Park and Saint Gobain
- A three-metre shared footway and cycleway and improved pedestrian crossing facilities
- Traffic signal-controlled junctions at Foregate Street and Madford Retail Park
- Changes to the existing roundabout at Martin Drive/Rose Hill
Around 130 people attended a public information event in June where details about the scheme were presented and last week partners and the project team met on site to mark its beginning.
'Enabling future development'
Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said: “The Stafford Western Access Route will enable future development contained in the borough’s local plan – notably the delivery of thousands of new homes and business, office and retail space. It will also reduce congestion in the town centre, particularly around the railway station."
Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy said: “Everyone has worked hard to get us to the stage now where work is beginning on such an important project for Stafford.
“Building new homes and commercial development on the western side of town can only happen with this road in place.
"In addition to bringing in multi-million pounds’ worth of investment into Stafford, it will also reduce congestion in the town centre.
“This will support the ambitious growth plans around the railway station which will enhance one of the main gateways to Stafford.”
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership deputy chairman Alun Rogers said: “The Stafford Western Access Route is vital for the town’s future growth. Improving transport infrastructure attracts new business and helps to retain existing companies, enabling them to grow and thrive.
“As the owner of a business in Stafford and as a resident I know how important this is. It has been a long process to get to this stage and so we’re pleased to see construction work begin.”
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