County council supports improvements along the A46
Gloucestershire County Council has welcomed a partnership approach to tackle long standing congestion on the A46 and the improvement of J9 of the M5.
With development pressures in the area, congestion is expected to worsen so the county council is keen for improvement work to progress.
To help move work along a group has been set up to jointly promote road improvements along the A46, where changes are needed.
Made up of local councils and local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) that border the A46, the group will focus on the section of the A46 trunk road between the M6/M69 near Coventry and the M5 near Tewkesbury.
As well as Gloucestershire County Council, other partners include Warwickshire County Council, Warwick District Council, Tewkesbury Borough Council, Wychavon District Council, Worcestershire County Council, Rugby Borough Council, Coventry City Council, Stratford-on-Avon District Council, GFirst Gloucestershire LEP and Worcestershire LEP.
Highways England is responsible for the A46 and Junction 9 of the M5 and for making any improvements, so although not part of the group, the organisation has been invited to attend partnership meetings to talk about any studies it has undertaken assessing the A46.
On Tuesday 18th October Councillor Vernon Smith, Gloucestershire County Council's cabinet member for highways and flood was voted in to chair the meetings for the next two years.
He said, "I feel very excited and humble to be made chair. I want to tackle the long standing congestion on the A46 at Ashchurch and see improvements at J9 of the M5 so that traffic movement can be better in the future.
"Now that central government has started its allocation process for the next round of funding for 2020 to 2025, we want to be in the best position possible to bid for funding.
"We need to improve north Gloucestershire's infrastructure for the 21st century. I know there are other pinch points on the A46 too, particularly around Evesham in Worcestershire and in Warwickshire so we must raise the profile and the requirements for the whole route.
"The group, known as the 'A46 Member Partnership', will bring together the decision makers and local stakeholders along the length of the road so we can agree what improvements are needed.
"By having a combined goal for the whole of the A46 we can strengthen the cases for our own individual areas."
The group itself does not have any funding; it is supported by officer and member time only.
However, the county council has some funding from the Homes and Communities Agency which is being used for a transport study.
Tewkesbury Borough Council bid to the Homes and Communities Agency for the money, through the designation of MOD Ashchurch as a 'housing zone'. The borough council has transferred the £250,000 to the county council for the study. Highways England is a joint partner in the study.