Finally Weston gets go-ahead for £15 million M5 J21 improvements
By Prue_Reid | Monday, November 26, 2012, 16:03
THE green light has been given to multi million pound plans to reduce traffic congestion around Weston-super-Mare's gridlocked motorway roundabout.
Traffic congestion at junction 21 could be a thing of the past thanks to the Weston Package scheme.
Local transport minister Norman Baker has given the final go ahead for the £15 million Weston Package scheme which is aimed at improving congestion around the motorway junction.
Weston MP John Penrose said this is the last official hurdle before work can begin although preparation of the site around Junction 21 of the M5 has been underway for several weeks already.
The government's decision marks the end of a six-year campaign to end the nightmare of daily commuter queues at rush hour.
Mr Penrose said: "This latest announcement is more of a symbolic hurdle, and confirms what we knew already, but even so I'm absolutely delighted it's done.
"The work should start next spring and, as far as I and every other Westonian is concerned, it can't happen soon enough.
"It's taken many years of patient work by a whole team of people, including myself and the district council, to get this far and, given the general shortage of Government cash, it's quite a victory.
"Everyone wants the nightmarishly long rush-hour queues to finally be a thing of the past."
News that the final approval for the scheme has now been agreed means a contractor can be appointed and work can begin.
The Department of Transport approved £10.4 million in funding for the scheme last year.
Other funding is coming from North Somerset Council and cash raised from 106 planning agreements with developers.
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.
The improvements at junction 21 will include widening the M5 southbound slip road and A370 approaches, creating an additional lane on the roundabout and installing new computer-controlled traffic lights to improve access to and from the M5 motorway and the A370.
Marchfields Way will also be widened to allow two way traffic and 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 linking new housing estates.
North Somerset Council deputy leader and executive member for highways Elfan Ap Rees, said: "To get this green light is a really good early Christmas present for Weston and North Somerset residents.
"I am now looking forward to seeing the first spade going into the ground as soon as possible".
For more information about the Weston Package and to receive regular updates on progress click HERE.