AN AMBITIOUS programme to dual the A4440 Southern Link Road between Junction 7 of the M5 and the Powick Roundabout is on target to fully open this summer.
The Worcestershire County Council works have, so far, included the installation of three miles of new road, increased capacity at the Norton, Ketch and Powick roundabouts and provision of a new bridge over the River Severn and a new Viaduct over Powick Hams.
There have also been three new bridges and an underpass constructed for pedestrians and cyclists, together with a new wider shared -use path along Temeside Way.
Battenhall Railway Bridge has been extended, a farm access bridge has been replaced, two pedestrian crossings have been improved and street lighting has been upgraded, as well as a flood mitigation area having been provided that is already being used by wildlife.
Coun Marc Bayliss, cabinet member for Economy, Infrastructure and Skills, said: “This is a major feat of civil engineering on a very complex project.
“The project has not been without its challenges; we had to relocate an electricity pylon before we could start on the final phase of the scheme and both Covid and a number of major flood events have had an impact, too. We have had to work carefully to ensure we properly record archaeological remains relating to the Battle of Worcester and to maximise environmental benefits.
“We have tried to keep disruption to a minimum by minimising road closures and carrying out as much of the work off-line and overnight as possible. This is always a balancing act, as we don’t want to disturb residents overnight where we can avoid it.
“We’re in the final stages of concluding the works required to enable the scheme to open, these works include surfacing, signing and lining, completion of the pedestrian crossings and the reinstatement of the Ketch Viewpoint. The road will be opened in phases, so that we can check everything is running smoothly and make any minor adjustments that may be necessary.”
In the coming weeks, traffic will be switched back over on Temeside Way, to allow a section of the new carriageway to be re-laid. This will be at no cost to the County Council, as the surfacing material was not satisfactory. This will not have any impact on the opening date, as it can be carried out in parallel with other works.
The works have already been recognised with the Hams Way Footbridge picking up two awards. The bridge was one of four projects to be awarded the British Construction Steelwork Association’s highest prize in 2021, and this followed the bridge’s success in the 2021 Bridges Design Awards, where it won joint first place in the category for projects below £5 million.
The Battenhall Bridge Extension project was also highly commended in the Highways Management category at The MJ Local Government Achievement Awards in 2019, following previous success, as a winner at the 2019 ICE West Midlands Civil Engineering Awards, being highly commended at the Rail Business Awards and winning Best Large Project at the 2019 Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation West Midlands Awards.
The full scheme has been mainly funded by the Department for Transport with some local developer contributions.
More information about the project is available on the County Council website at www.worcestershire.gov.uk/slr