A DECISION to delay any attempt to build the city’s long-awaited Northern Link Road for a further 16 years has been labelled “very disturbing”.
This was the reaction of Coun Richard Udall who discovered the news in a report by Wychavon District Council which said they did not need to build the road either “in whole or part” until 2030.
The creation of the Northern Link, which could potentially connect the A4440/A44 at Grove Farm to the A449 north of Worcester, would complete the city’s ring road.
Coun Udall has been among those campaigning to get the route finished as he believed it would alleviate traffic congestion in the city. But he was disappointed to find out at a meeting of Worcestershire County Council last Thursday (September 25), leaders were instead focusing their attention on dualling the southern link road.
“What does concern me is that this is only handling part of the job and not doing the full job which is the completion of the orbital route,” he said.
“Whenever I speak to people in St John’s the first thing they ask me is when are we going to get that completed. So to hear that the orbital route is out of the question until 2030 is very disturbing.”
Coun Simon Geraghty, deputy leader of the county council, said the creation of the Northern Link Road was still a “a long term aspiration”. But he said they did not have the funds to complete the route, which he believed would cost up to £150million to carry out.
“Richard’s views are well-known and well-rehearsed,” he said. “We do have a fundamental disagreement and most members will see that.
“We have to solve both ends of any future link road before we move into that area. If you look at the congestion we are facing, I would suggest creating a link road in between without solving that really would be creating a car park.”
Coun Simon Geraghty said it was important to concentrate on spending £33million to complete phase three of the Southern Link improvement.
Council leaders approved to the scheme, which would see the A4440 dualled between Whittington junction and the Ketch roundabout which is currently under construction. It also includes the upgrade of the existing Norton junction as well as the creation of a new rail bridge and bridle bridge.
The move means work could begin as early as Spring next year and finished by early 2018.
Coun Adrian Hardman, council leader, added: “This is really going to be a tremendous upgrade in capacity of that absolutely vital artery around the city and when it is completed it will remove a lot of traffic from the centre of the city.
“We are delighted that we are making such good progress with this.”