Phase 3: Norton to Whittington
Overnight Work on the Southern Link Road
The majority of work on the Southern Link Road is carried out during the daytime, however, when certain work is being carried out eg extensive surfacing work, a full road closure is required. Recognising that this important route cannot be closed during the daytime, this type of work has to take place overnight.
The contractor is required to work within the guidelines set out in British Standard BS5228 and the working methods they have agreed with Worcestershire Regulatory Services to control noise. In summary, this requires the contractor to comply with Worcestershire Regulatory Services' “Code of Best Practice for Demolition and Construction Sites”.
Some noise eg vehicle reversing bleepers, which are mandatory, is unavoidable but contractors have been instructed to keep noise to a minimum. Wherever possible, noisier work will be completed by midnight. Contractors have been instructed to carefully consider the location and direction of floodlighting to minimise any impact on residential properties.
An alternative route will be signposted during the closures.
The Southern Link Road Improvement Strategy
The Southern Link Road is one of the county's most important routes providing a link between Worcester/the M5 and the south of the county/Herefordshire. It also provides an important bypass for the City and residential areas. During public consultation on the Local Transport Plan it was therefore unsurprising that it was identified by respondents as one of the highest priorities for improvement.
Although the intention is to dual the entire length between Whittington and Powick Hams, this cannot be achieved in one phase due to either funding or logistics constraints. Therefore, the scheme would have to be delivered in phases. Having reviewed traffic modelling data, the Department for Transport agreed to fund improvements to the Ketch Roundabout and some preparatory work at Whittington first. That work is now complete and the next phase of work has begun; to finish the dualling between the Ketch and Norton Roundabout, to increase capacity on Norton Roundabout, to dual between Norton and Whittington Roundabouts and to create a dedicated "free flow" slip lane off Whittington Roundabout for traffic leaving J7 of the M5 heading towards Norton.
The final phase will be to dual the Carrington Road Bridge. It would not have been possible to have dualled the bridge first because the significant funding required to deliver it was not available.
The decision to forge ahead with Phase 3 was taken by the County Council's Cabinet in September 2014. Cabinet also authorised the exploratory work necessary to progress Phase 4, which would dual track the final section between the Ketch and Powick Roundabouts, including Carrington Bridge.
Following the Cabinet agreement, an extensive public engagement exercise about Phase 3 was carried out during winter 2014, which helped to formulate the final detail of the scheme and any mitigation measures.
Phase 3 includes:
- The dual-tracking of the entire length of the Southern Link Road between Whittington and Ketch roundabouts
- Improvements to Norton Roundabout
- A new dedicated left-hand turn from Whittington Road (from M5 junction seven) to the westbound Crookbarrow Way (A4440) – thereby removing the current "give way" arrangement on the Whittington Roundabout
- A new bridleway bridge crossing the road suitable for pedestrians, cyclists and horse-riders.
The benefits of delivering Phase 3 include:
- Improving transport links and infrastructure, which will boost the local economy
- Contributing towards reducing traffic congestion in the city centre, residential areas and on the Southern Link Road
- Reducing journey times
- Improving journey time reliability.
Funding for the improvements comes from a number of sources, including £16.4 million from the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership as part of the Government’s Growth Deal and £16.3million provisionally allocated from the South Worcestershire Urban Extension development programme.
Cllr Ken Pollock, Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills and Infrastructure, said:
"Schemes such as this are a crucial part of our Open for Business strategy. This next key milestone takes us a step closer to dualling one of the most important strategic transport routes in the county. By improving transport links and infrastructure, motorists will benefit from reduced congestion and travel times. This will also have a positive impact on boosting the local economy."
Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
“The Southern Link Road improvements are vital to the economic growth of our County and will support our local businesses to increase productivity, due to improved journey times, as well as provide benefits for visitors and residents. The improved links to the motorway network will also provide greater access to employment sites in South Worcestershire which will enable other companies to locate in the County and bring further jobs. We recognise that the full benefits will only be seen when funding is secured for the final stage, which is the dualling of the Carrington Bridge. We continue to work with all partner organisations to raise the profile of the need for funding for this significant final phase.”
Work continues on multi-million pound Southern Link Road improvements
Work continues to gather pace on the multi-million pound A4440 Worcester Southern Link Road improvement scheme.
With an investment of over £40m to dual between Ketch and Whittington roundabouts, the programme is one of the biggest upgrades to road infrastructure in the County for many years. The scheme has been identified as one of the highest priorities in terms of tackling both current and future levels of congestion, which is a significant barrier to economic growth.
Progress to date and future works
Phase 3 works to reconfigure Norton Roundabout and complete the dualling between Norton Roundabout and the Ketch commenced in October 2015 and are due to be complete in spring 2017. The contractor has now constructed the new roundabout gyratory and has switched traffic to run on this. Works to complete the centre reserve between Norton roundabout and Ketch roundabout are well advanced. The changes of St. Peters Drive are also making significant progress, with new kerbs and footways due to be completed soon.
Work to dual-track between Norton and Whittington roundabouts commenced in July 2016. This phase of the works will also include the creation of a dedicated left-hand turn from Whittington Road (from Junction 7 of the M5) and the removal of the current "give way" arrangement.
Over the summer, the first phase of earthworks for the widening between Norton and Whittington Roundabouts were completed. Drainage works and construction of the road foundation are now being undertaken. Reconstruction and widening of the footway/cycleway along the north side of the road is well advanced, with surfacing of the new path now taking place.
During the winter, works will continue to complete the new footway/cycleway. Works will also start on constructing the new centre reserves and surface the widened carriageway.
The current works will dual-track the sections of road either side of the existing railway bridge. Further works, due to commence in summer 2017 with a spring 2019 completion, include improvements to Whittington roundabout, completion of the dualling between the Norton and Whittington junctions and the construction of the new railway and bridleway bridges.
Hours of Work
We appreciate that the work is disruptive for local residents and we therefore have restrictions on working hours – usually 7.30am to 5pm. Some night working is carried out and this is usually advertised on the Council's website and on the electronic Variable Message Signs. The only exception to this is when emergency works have to be carried out unexpectedly – some of which are not related to the scheme eg an unrelated gas leak.