Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet will be asked to approve a further £5million investment to progress its government funding bid for the M5 Junction 9 and A46 (Ashchurch) Transport Scheme, which includes environmental improvements for pedestrians and cyclists.
The M5 Junction 9 and A46 (Ashchurch) Transport Scheme is a proposal to upgrade the M5 Junction 9 near Tewkesbury and re-route the section of the A46 which currently passes through Ashchurch to the east of the M5.
The new dual carriageway will remove significant volumes of traffic from the A46 through Ashchurch, improving journey times and reliability and helping to reduce mainline queueing on the M5 and the approaches to M5 junction 9 at peak periods due to congestion, which is currently a safety concern.
This will result in an improved quality of life for residents along the A46 through Ashchurch, with better air quality and improved safety and connectivity which will encourage more sustainable transport use and help to support local economic growth.
Removal of through traffic from the A46 will provide opportunities to deliver a superior environment for cycling and walking, on much quieter, better designed local roads; specifically between Ashchurch station and the town.
At a regional level, the A46 is a nationally significant route between the South West and the Midlands, offering an important alternative to the A42/M42 for traffic travelling between the M1 and the M5.
Options are currently being considered by GCC and Highways England but as this proposal is in the early stages of development, the exact location of the new road and details of the junction upgrade are yet to be decided. There will be a public consultation later in the year, which will focus on establishing a specific route from the different options available.
In January 2020, the council applied to the Department for Transport (DfT) for Large Local Majors (LLM) funding to finance the proposed M5 Junction 9 and A46 (Ashchurch) Transport Scheme.
To progress the government funding bid the county council now needs to complete the Outline Business Case (OBC) and at its meeting later this month cabinet is being asked to approve the investment of a further £5 million for this purpose.
If cabinet approval is given, the plan is to submit the OBC to the Department for Transport in spring next year following a route options consultation later in 2021.
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for environment and planning said, “These are very significant proposals both for Gloucestershire and also at a national level, with the potential to bring £300million of investment into our county.
“The scheme will boost the local economy, improve safety and enhance the quality of life for many residents living near the A46 in Ashchurch by reducing congestion and improving air quality.
“I will be recommending to cabinet that we invest further in developing these ambitious proposals so we will be able to submit a funding bid to government.”