Government cash bid for junction 21 improvements submitted
By Prue_Reid | Friday, September 28, 2012, 09:24
A MULTI MILLION pound bid for Government funding for cash to improve traffic flows on and around Weston-super-Mare's M5 motorway junction has been approved by councillors. An application for £10.3 million in funding for the Weston Package will now go to the Department of Transport for consideration. The scheme - aimed at improving congestion around the junction - is costing £15 million overall and other funding is coming from North Somerset Council and cash raised from 106 planning agreements with developers. The project will include improvements to junction 21 of the M5 to reduce queuing off the motorway as well as improvements to the A370, including widening Marchfields Way to allow two way traffic. New bus and cycle routes will also be created as well as a new car park and bus interchange at Worle railway station. Improved cycle links and motorcycle facilities will also be installed at the station and a new bus link from Queens Way to the station created. A new bus priority lane will also be installed along Elham Way. The package was drawn up by North Somerset Council in response to the amount of housing development in the area and the fact that 20,000 people currently commute to work from Weston every day. Large tailbacks often form along Somerset Avenue and Bristol Road back to the Queensway junction at peak times as traffic from the resort tries to get on to junction 21 and on to the A370 or M5. It is hoped the council will hear by Christmas whether its funding bid to the Department of Transport has been successful. North Somerset Council deputy leader and executive member for transport, Councillor Elfan Ap Rees, said: "Weston Package has a crucial role in supporting employment and housing growth in Weston-super-Mare. "It will support employment-led growth for the local economy, and reduce out-commuting; reduce congestion in the town centre through more sustainable travel; and improve the fit between the local and strategic road networks." "We are already beginning to clear vegetation in readiness for the works and hope to receive the final go ahead from the DfT by Christmas. "That will allow us to issue the contract and get construction under way by the spring. "Once complete this project will have a profound effect on congestion and improving regeneration and growth in the wider Weston area." Councillors also approved the recommendation of the contractor to undertake the work. Alun Griffiths (Contractors) Ltd is the preferred bidder, subject to confirmation of full approval from the DfT.