Worcester’s MP, Robin Walker, who has campaigned over many years for the full dualling of Worcester’s Southern Link including the Carrington Bridge, has welcomed good news from the Department of Transport (DOT) that they will be providing £500,000 to help fund the development of a business case for the Carrington Bridge dualling bid. This is a major step forward for the project which was one of Robin’s top priorities for Worcester when he campaigned for re-election in 2015.
Robin wrote two weeks ago to the Transport Secretary to outline how the road has enormous strategic importance, linking Worcester to Herefordshire and providing essential links to the West of the County with the M5 and Worcestershire Parkway Station as well as to demonstrate how the case for it was improving as the cost of benefit ratio of the project came down. As Robin has said many times, its expansion is vital to the local economy of both counties. He held a dedicated Westminster Hall Debate on this matter in 2015 and the Minister who has written to him to confirm the funding is the same Andrew Jones who responded to that debate.
Upgrades to the road have the support of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, all three district councils in the area as well as their MPs and the County Council – all of whom are backing the LEP’s recently filed bid. In Robin’s view it is imperative that the A4440 be considered as a major strategic link and upgraded as soon as possible in order to enable and support planned housing and employment growth to the West of Worcester. Robin has previously highlighted support from our neighbours in Herefordshire and from the business community of the two counties for the project as well as bringing the then Transport Secretary to see it for himself during the 2015 election campaign. He recently asked a question to the former Transport Secretary on the matter to keep up the urgency of the campaign.
On Friday the letter from the DOT said:
“I am pleased to tell you that, as part of our Large Local Major Schemes Programme, we are announcing today that we will be providing £500,000 to help fund the development of an Outline Business Case for Phase 4 of this scheme. I know that good progress has been made on delivering the first three phases of the Link Road. Once the business case has been completed, they will decide whether the scheme should proceed.”
Commenting on the news of the funding Robin said:
“I am thrilled to see the dualling of the Southern Link take another big step forward and it is brilliant news that the Government is providing funding to build up the business case. This will save money for the County Council and the LEP and enable us to put the strongest possible case forward for this vital infrastructure investment. Since the 1980s there has been precious little investment in Worcester’s vital ring road and for years I have been campaigning to secure improvements to the Southern Link. These will only have their full effect when the road is fully dualled including the Carrington Bridge and that aspiration, which has eluded our County for decades, is now a gigantic step closer. I will keep doing all I can to get this project secured.”