M5 Junction 9 and A46 (Ashchurch) Transport Scheme

The M5 Junction 9 and A46 (Ashchurch) Transport Scheme is a proposal to upgrade the M5 Junction 9 near Tewkesbury and re-route the section of the A46 which currently passes through Ashchurch to the east of the M5 (between M5 Junction 9 and Teddington Hands roundabout).  

The A46 through Ashchurch currently suffers from longstanding challenges in relation to severance, congestion and road safety, impacting local residents and businesses. By re-routing traffic away from the existing A46 through Ashchurch on to the new road, the scheme will help deliver an improved street environment through Ashchurch, with better air quality and improved safety and connectivity (including supporting sustainable travel). This will help improve the quality of life for residents and support local economic growth.

At a regional level, the A46 provides a strategic link between the south west and the midlands, offering an important alternative to the A42/M42 for traffic travelling between the M1 and the M5. However, the section of the A46 through Ashchurch is currently acting as a key constraint on the route, with drivers experiencing significant delays.

Options are currently being considered for a new dual carriageway between the M5 near Tewkesbury and Teddington Hands roundabout and associated works to M5 Junction 9, thereby removing significant volumes of traffic from the A46 through Ashchurch and enabling this existing section to better cater for local traffic movements between Tewkesbury and Ashchurch. A wide variety of route options running both to the north and the south of the existing A46 are being considered and technically assessed for suitability.

The scheme will improve north-south connectivity for long distance traffic and Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) travelling between the south-west and the midlands, critical for supporting future economic growth in the region. The scheme will help solve long standing traffic issues at this key location on the A46 corridor, including improving journey times and reliability for journeys between the M5 Junction 9 and Teddington Hands roundabout, and addressing mainline queueing on the M5 and approaches to M5 Junction 9 at peak periods due to congestion, which is currently a safety concern.

The scheme will also support sustainable local growth plans in Gloucestershire. The scheme is being developed with a view to supporting the delivery of the Tewkesbury Garden Town at Ashchurch, a mixed-use development which will bring forward up to 10,195 homes and 120 hectares of employment land at Ashchurch by 2041 and beyond.

Scheme Timeline

In January 2020, we applied to the Department for Transport (DfT) for Large Local Majors (LLM) funding to finance the proposed M5 Junction 9 and A46 (Ashchurch) transport scheme. Since then, we have been moving forward with our business case development work as well as working closely with key stakeholders, including collaborating with National Highways (formerly Highways England) to develop the scheme.

As this proposal is in the early stages of development, the exact location of the new road and details of the junction upgrade are yet be decided. Technical work is currently underway with the aim of presenting a number of suitable options for public consultation in 2022. This consultation, along with ongoing engagement with stakeholders, will shape the preferred scheme design.

A more detailed timeline for the next steps of scheme development and any other updates will be provided here when possible.

Contact us

We are committed to working with the public and stakeholders, and there will be an opportunity to comment on the proposals for the route options in 2022, and again on the preferred route following the Preferred Route Announcement.

In the meantime, you can email us at M5Junction9@atkinsglobal.com if you have any questions about the proposed transport scheme.

Further information

All updates, including plans and timescales for scheme development and public consultation, will be provided here or through our Twitter and Facebook accounts. A set of FAQs can also be found on this page.

Further information about the A46 Partnership is available at: https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/joint-ventures/a46-partnership/.

Further information about the Tewkesbury Garden Town is available at: www.tewkesburygardentown.co.uk/home.

Further information on the Joint Core Strategy, which is being delivered by Gloucester City Council, Cheltenham Borough Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council as the relevant planning authorities, is available via the JCS website; www.jointcorestrategy.org.

For further information on the Western Gateway Sub-national Transport Body click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

The scheme

The M5 Junction 9 and A46 (Ashchurch) Transport Scheme is a proposal to upgrade the M5 Junction 9 near Tewkesbury and re-route the section of the A46 which currently passes through Ashchurch to the east of the M5 (between M5 Junction 9 and Teddington Hands roundabout).


Options are currently being considered for a new dual carriageway between the M5 near Tewkesbury and Teddington Hands roundabout and associated works to M5 Junction 9, thereby removing significant volumes of traffic from the A46 through Ashchurch and enabling this existing section to better cater for local traffic movements between Tewkesbury and Ashchurch.

The aim of the scheme is to help solve longstanding traffic issues and provide benefits for people and businesses at both a local and regional / national level.  

At a local level, the A46 through Ashchurch currently suffers from longstanding challenges in relation to severance, congestion and road safety, impacting local residents and businesses. By re-routing traffic away from the existing A46 through Ashchurch on to the new road, the scheme will help deliver an improved street environment through Ashchurch, with better air quality and improved safety and connectivity (including supporting sustainable travel). This will help improve the quality of life for residents and support local economic growth.

At a regional level, the A46 provides a strategic link between the south west and the midlands, offering an important alternative to the A42/M42 for traffic travelling between the M1 and the M5. However, the section of the A46 through Ashchurch is currently acting as a key constraint on the route, with drivers experiencing significant delays.

The scheme will improve north-south connectivity for long distance traffic and Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) travelling between the South-West and the Midlands, critical for supporting future economic growth in the region. The scheme will help solve long standing traffic issues at this key location on the A46 corridor, including improving journey times and reliability for journeys between the M5 Junction 9 and Teddington Hands roundabout, and addressing mainline queueing on the approaches to M5 junction 9 at peak periods due to congestion, which is currently a safety concern.

The scheme will also support sustainable local growth plans in Gloucestershire. The scheme is being developed with a view to supporting the delivery of the Tewkesbury Garden Town at Ashchurch, a mixed-use development which will bring forward up to 10,195 homes and 120 hectares of employment land at Ashchurch by 2041 and beyond.

Furthermore, the scheme will help enable growth outlined in the Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury Joint Core Strategy (JCS) in order to meet Gloucestershire’s rapidly growing housing and employment needs.

Details on the Tewkesbury Garden Town are available at www.tewkesburygardentown.co.uk/home. Further information on the Joint Core Strategy, which is being delivered by Gloucester City Council, Cheltenham Borough Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council as the relevant planning authorities, is available via the JCS website www.jointcorestrategy.org.

As this proposal is in the early stages of development, the exact location of the new road and details of the junction upgrade are yet be decided and work is currently being carried out to identify the most suitable option (subject to public consultation).

Technical work is currently underway to determine whether a single or dual carriageway solution is required, based on the forecast level of demand. The aim is to identify a solution which optimises journey time savings and journey time reliability for both strategic and local journeys.

Bid and funding

In January 2020, Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) applied to the Department for Transport (DfT) for Large Local Majors (LLM) funding to finance the proposed M5 Junction 9 and A46 (Ashchurch) Transport Scheme. As stipulated in the requirements for LLM funding, 15% of the scheme cost will be met through local or third-party contributions.

If the LLM funding was not available, GCC would seek support from National Highways’ Road Investment Programme (RIP) and Homes England, as well as other alternative funding.

LLM funding is intended specifically for large local highway authority transport schemes which cannot be funded through normal routes. If GCC is successful in its application to DfT for LLM funding for the scheme, the funding will be in addition to the highway budgets that GCC spend on routine maintenance of county roads.

Engagement

The need for the scheme has been tested through the adopted Gloucestershire Local Transport Planwhich identified the scheme as a strategic transport priority. A number of promotional events also took place with local businesses and residents in 2017.

However, since these consultations the scheme has been developed in much greater detail. Public consultation on the updated proposals for the scheme, including the route options, is expected to commence in 2022. This consultation, along with ongoing engagement with stakeholders, will shape the preferred scheme design, and there will be a further public consultation on the preferred route at a later stage in scheme development

Information about this will be available on our website in due course and will be updated regularly. You can also register your interest to receive updates about the scheme by emailing M5Junction9@atkinsglobal.com.

You can email us at M5Junction9@atkinsglobal.com if you have any questions about the proposed transport scheme.

Environment and ecology

GCC are committed to mitigating any negative impacts a highways scheme may present in relation to local quality of life, including the environment. By removing traffic from the existing A46 through Ashchurch the scheme will help to deliver a streetscape scene and support sustainable travel. This will benefit both existing residents and the new community at the Tewkesbury Garden Town.

Environmental surveys and assessments are also being undertaken to ensure that the scheme will have a minimal impact on the surrounding area, environment and its wildlife. In particular, it is recognised that the local area is an area of high flood risk and assessments are being undertaken to ensure that the scheme does not increase this risk.

GCC recognises the need for demand management to reduce future traffic levels, and is committed to encouraging greater active travel and public transport use. However, as driving is likely to remain a prominent mode of transport for the foreseeable future, the council also has a responsibility to ensure that the local road network is futureproofed. Gloucestershire is facing rapidly growing housing and employment needs and the correct transport infrastructure must be provided to support this future growth. This scheme is being brought forward to ensure that the local network can cope with future traffic levels and best serve Gloucestershire’s growing population.

The scheme will reroute traffic away from the existing A46 through Ashchurch on to the new road, enabling delivery of an improved street environment through Ashchurch and supporting shift to sustainable modes. By alleviating the existing A46 the scheme will also support sustainable local growth plans in Gloucestershire, with the old route passing through the Tewkesbury Garden Town.

A range of surveys are required on the land within the vicinity of M5 junction 9 and the A46 to ensure that any improvements would have a minimal impact to the surrounding area, environment and its wildlife. People who will be impacted by these surveys will be contacted beforehand to obtain permission to undertake the surveys. GCC will use the results of the surveys to help us understand the potential impacts of the scheme on the surrounding environment and inform the design of the scheme.

Traffic impacts

Early-stage indicative traffic modelling undertaken for the scheme indicates a potential decrease in traffic flow on the M5 in proximity to junction 9 due to traffic re-routing onto the new road, reducing journey times and congestion. Further detailed traffic modelling is currently being undertaken to fully understand the impact.

The traffic modelling work being undertaken will identify key locations which will be impacted by the scheme, and we will be proposing localised improvements to mitigate congestion. The exact details of any required localised improvements have not been confirmed and will be determined through the ongoing traffic modelling work. Improvements at any impacted junctions may include providing additional lanes on the approaches and exits to the junction.

Wider context

The scheme will help support delivery of the Tewkesbury Garden Town development. This is a proposed mixed-use development which will bring forward up to 10,195 dwellings and 120 hectares of employment land at Ashchurch, east of the M5. More information about the development can be found at https://www.tewkesburygardentown.co.uk/home.

The scheme is important to delivery of the Garden Town as it will help provide extra capacity on the road network, without which the Garden Town development as a whole is not deliverable. By removing traffic from the existing A46 through Ashchurch the scheme will also help to deliver a streetscape scene and support sustainable travel.

Delivery of the Garden Town will help meet the future housing requirements for Tewkesbury beyond the adopted JCS. Without the scheme, the short, medium, and long-term delivery of homes will be severely constrained due to limited capacity on the existing network. The proposals for the transport scheme take account of the proposed Garden Town development and local planning authorities are in close engagement with GCC and are key partners in the development of this scheme.

DfT is expected to make a final decision on whether to grant the funding for the scheme following the submission of a Full Business Case. A more detailed timeline for the next steps of scheme development and construction will be provided when possible.​

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