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Residents critical of Ketch island scheme

Worcester Editorial 22nd Jan, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

A MULTI-MILLION pound revamp of a “gridlocked” Worcester road has come under fire from residents.

Work to part-dual the A4440 Southern Link road is set to get underway in March after the £38million scheme was unanimously backed by councillors last month.

The three-phased project will eventually see the entire route to the Whittington roundabout dualled in the next five year while the Ketch Island will be doubled in size.

County council chiefs believe the revamp, which was put on display at three public exhibitions in St Peter’s last week, will help to ease congestion.

However, many residents who packed into St Peter’s Baptist Church on Thursday (January 16) felt it would not solve the problem.

Among those included Steve Wilson, of Tansy Close, who believed money should have instead been spent on creating a northern link road, which would connect Dines Green with Barbourne.

“This is typical of Worcester’s small minded approach,” he said. “It plays around with four different islands on the same A444 because the road is well above capacity when they could have built a new road and a new bridge at the north end of the city, which would reduce the traffic by 50 per cent and save all of this.”

John Webster, 77, from Kempsey, also said the project would not alter the amount of motorists using the road at peak times, while Sue Harris, who has lived in Badger Gardens in St Peter’s for more than 20 years, believed the county council should have foreseen the problems.

“We are all desperate to get something done about traffic situation here, but I am just cross that all this wasn’t thought of before they developed St Peter’s and now they’re looking to develop it further,” she said. “It should have been planned well ahead.”

Coun Roger Knight, councillor for St Peter’s, said he was also “very disappointed” by the scheme as he felt the Ketch roundabout off the A38 would be too close to residents.

“What we have here isn’t going to solve the entire problem although it will probably contribute towards it,” he added.

However, Coun Simon Geraghty, deputy leader of Worcestershire County Council, said: “Over 30,000 vehicles use this road every day and without action the delays will get worse, impacting on our economy and costing our residents and businesses time and money stuck in delays.

“Addressing this issue is of crucial importance to ensure the area remains ‘Open for Business’ and that barriers to economic growth are removed.

“The improvements from the Ketch Roundabout to the Norton Roundabout, for which funding has been secured, will deliver significant short term benefits for the route as a whole and lay the foundations for further dualling to the Whittington junction.”

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