Major road upgrades between the M5 and Bristol Airport proposed
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A Somerset council has committed £1.5million towards its share of major road upgrades to ensure faster journey times between Bristol Airport and the M5.
Somerset County Council and North Somerset Council are collaborating to deliver nine different schemes to improve traffic flow on the A38 between Junction 22 of the M5 near Highbridge and the outskirts of Bristol.
The two authorities’ formal consultation on the proposals – which include creating a new ‘throughabout’ at Junction 22 – concluded on August 1.
Somerset County Council has now confirmed it will directly contribute £1.5million towards the schemes on its side of the border, allowing it to “lever in” more funding from central government.
The nine schemes being considered as part of the improvement programme are as follows:
- Turning the Edithmead roundabout at Junction 22 of the M5 into a “throughabout”, allowing traffic to reach both Highbridge and the motorway more quickly
- Speed control measures in Rooks Bridge, including new 30mph speed limit signs and high-friction red surfacing at entrances and key junctions
- Staggering the Cross Junction near Axbridge to improve visibility, with articulated lorries no longer being able to turn left onto Old Coach Road
- Enhancing the existing Strawberry Lane crossing at the A38 Bridgwater Road north of the Cross junction to encourage cycling in the local area
- Widening footways on Sidcots Lane in Winscombe to make the A38 Bridgwater Road safer for pedestrians
- Realigning the A38 in Langford to provide better pedestrian and cycling links between new housing and existing facilities in the village
- Widening the approach lanes for the two roundabouts near Bristol Airport to provide additional capacity and cycle lanes
- Widening the existing footpath on the A38 Bridgwater Road in Barrow Gurney to provide better cycling facilities near National Cycle Network route 26
- Upgrading the junction between the A38 Bridgwater Road and the B3130 Barrow Street near the Bristol Water treatment works.
Of these nine schemes, only the first three are within Somerset County Council’s boundaries.
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The council has allocated £1.5million towards these three projects following the receipt of £6.657million additional grant funding from the Department for Transport (DfT).
Of the remaining funding, £750,000 has been spent on emergency road repairs following the flash floods in Chard in late-June, with the rest being split between various maintenance programmes.
Mike O’Dowd-Jones, the council’s strategic commissioning manager for highways and transport, said: “This is a local contribution to major highways schemes, such as the A38 Major Road Network (MRN) scheme from the M5 Junction 22 to Bristol Airport.
“This is to ensure that the required 15 per cent local contribution to the Somerset element of the works can be provided, levering in approximately £8.5million government funding to fund works in Somerset.
“The cost of the A38 MRN works is not yet finalised, and any residual funding from this contingency sum will be utilised as a local funding contribution towards other major highways infrastructure projects as necessary.
“Other local contributions will continue to be pursued to offset the need for this contingency to be drawn down.”
The two councils will be submitting a joint business case for the nine schemes to the DfT before the end of the year.