Work on £15 million congestion scheme to start in April
WORK on a £15 million scheme to improve traffic flows around Weston-super-Mare is to start in April.
North Somerset Council has now appointed contractors Costain and Alun Griffiths to lead the Weston Package scheme to reduce congestion at Weston's motorway junction.
The Department of Transport approved £10.4 million in funding for the scheme last year.
The package was drawn up by North Somerset Council in response to the amount of housing development in the area and the fact that 20,000 people currently commute to work from Weston every day.
Large tailbacks often form along Somerset Avenue and Bristol Road back to the Queensway junction at peak times as traffic from the resort tries to get on to junction 21 and on to the A370 or M5.
The scheme is costing £15 million overall and other funding is coming from North Somerset Council and cash raised from 106 planning agreements with developers.
The improvements at junction 21 will include widening the M5 southbound sliproad and A370 approaches, creating an additional lane on the roundabout and installing new computer-controlled traffic lights to improve access to and from the M5 motorway and the A370.
Marchfields Way will also be widened to allow two way traffic and new bus and cycle routes will also be created as well as a new car park and bus interchange at Worle railway station.
Improved cycle links and motorcycle facilities will also be installed at the station and a new bus link from Queens Way to the station created.
A new bus priority lane will also be installed along Elham Way linking new housing estates.
The council also heard last week it had secured an extra £200,000 from the Department for Transport to upgrade the cycle path along Winterstoke Road.
The shared-use path will mean a safer route for cyclists and pedestrians wishing to walk or cycle to work or school along the busy road.
Costain will carry out the work at junction 21 and Alun Griffiths will complete the other four schemes.
The contractors will now complete method statements and risk assessments, and construction at all five sites will get underway from April.
North Somerset Council executive member for transport, Councillor Elfan Ap Rees, said: "I am sure our many commuters will share my delight at reaching this stage, and although it will need careful traffic management to minimise disruption ,the end result should be well worth it."
To register to receive monthly updates on progress with Weston Package, or for more information, log on to www.n-somerset.gov.uk/westonpackage.