M5 Junction 9 and A46 (Ashchurch) Transport Scheme
September 2022 update:
Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) was planning to undertake a non-statutory public consultation for the M5 Junction 9 and A46 (Ashchurch) Transport Scheme this autumn.
As part of good practice in scheme development external advice was sought, which highlighted that further work should be undertaken before going out to public consultation. Following this external advice, we have now decided to undertake this additional work, to further review and shortlist scheme options. This work will be carried out with National Highways’ support. The non-statutory public consultation will now take place once the additional analysis has been completed, which could take 9 months, with public consultation taking place in late 2023 at the earliest (dates tbc).
The M5 Junction 9 and A46 (Ashchurch) Transport Scheme is a proposal to develop a new or reconfigured M5 junction near Tewkesbury and re-route the existing A46 around Ashchurch to Teddington Hands roundabout. A wide variety of route options are currently being considered and technically assessed for suitability.
The A46 through Ashchurch currently suffers from longstanding challenges in relation to physical separation, caused by high levels of traffic and congestion. This has a direct impact on local residents and businesses while also resulting in road safety implications. During peak periods, there are considerable delays on the A46 between M5 Junction 9 and Teddington Hands roundabout. Key junctions, including Teddington Hands roundabout and the M5 Junction 9, currently experience persistent and high queue lengths. In particular, slip road queuing at M5 Junction 9 presents a safety risk.
Tewkesbury was awarded Garden Town status in 2019 to help facilitate and plan comprehensively for the delivery of much needed homes and employment opportunities. Additional road and junction capacity would be required to support the delivery of such a Garden Town. In addition, high volumes of traffic and inadequate cycling and walking infrastructure currently act as a barrier to facilitating sustainable travel and creating attractive spaces for the local population to use along the A46 through Ashchurch.
The A46 has been identified as an important diversionary route for when an incident occurs further north on the strategic road network (e.g. M5/M42/M40). Modelling by Midlands Connect (the Sub-national Transport Body for the Midlands) also suggests that, in the short term (2020-2025), issues related to journey times and reliability will be most acute at Ashchurch.
More than half of the traffic currently using the existing A46 through Ashchurch during peak periods is longer distance through-traffic. Our proposals would provide an alternative more suitable route for these vehicles, especially for long distance heavy goods traffic. This would benefit local residents and businesses by reducing traffic on the existing A46 through Ashchurch, which would reduce noise and provide long term environmental benefits in the longer term. This would also improve journey times and reliability.
The scheme would maintain the existing A46 through Ashchurch, but through-traffic would largely re-route from this road onto the new A46 link. This would be quicker and more reliable and signed as the new trunk road, with longer distance locations shown on direction signs.
The reduction in traffic on the existing A46 through Ashchurch, and further enhancements to that road, could open opportunities for increased walking, cycling and public transport usage and reductions in Heavy Goods Vehicles.
The scheme would support economic growth for the region by providing a suitable route for long distance traffic between the South West and Midlands and enable the road network to operate efficiently. The scheme would reduce queuing back to the M5 from the Junction 9 roundabout which is currently a safety concern.
The scheme will also enable the development of much needed homes and employment opportunities of the Tewkesbury Garden Town by providing additional road and junction capacity. How future developments connect to the new road would be examined as the scheme and Garden Town proposals develop.
In January 2020, we applied to the Department for Transport for Large Local Majors funding to finance the proposed M5 Junction 9 and A46 (Ashchurch) Transport Scheme. Since then, we have been developing the business case, working closely with key stakeholders, including National Highways to develop the scheme.
On 21st May 2022, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced the award of £1.5 million to support the proposed M5 Junction 9 and A46 (Ashchurch) Transport Scheme. Read more about the DLUHC funding boost here
We have undertaken environmental surveys in the area surrounding the scheme. These surveys will be used to inform the option assessment work, scheme design and mitigation measures in order to minimise impacts on the surrounding area, environment and its wildlife. We have also been speaking to stakeholders as part of a review of existing walking and cycling facilities and opportunities for future improvements. The review will help to inform the scheme design and highlight opportunities to make improvements for these users.
As this proposal is in the early stages of development, the exact location of the new road and details of the junction are yet be decided. Technical work is currently underway to further review and shortlist scheme options. Our aim is to present a number of suitable route options for public non-statutory consultation once the additional analysis has been completed. This consultation, along with ongoing engagement with stakeholders, will shape the preferred scheme design.
We are committed to working with the public and stakeholders to share information and gather your feedback. There will be an opportunity to comment on the proposals for the route options during the non-statutory public consultation in 2023, and again on the preferred option following the preferred route announcement.
In the meantime, you can email us at M5Junction9@atkinsglobal.com if you have any questions about the scheme.
More information about the scheme and our proposals can be found in our latest set of Frequently Asked Questions.
Further information about the A46 Partnership.
Further information about the Tewkesbury Garden Town.