Hundreds back masterplan to improve A500 and A50

Around three-quarters of people in Newcastle and the Staffordshire Moorlands back a masterplan to improve the A50 and A500, according to a new survey. Midlands Connect says the nine schemes proposed for the key strategic route between Stoke-on-Trent and Derby could add GBP12 billion to the region’s economy over the next 60 years, help create more than 12,000 jobs and slash journey times by 30 minutes. The transport think tank and its partners are calling on the government to provide the funding for the schemes over the next three Road Investment Strategies (RIS), up to 2040.

As part of its efforts to build a convincing case for the masterplan, Midlands Connect commissioned a survey of 800 residents in Newcastle, the Moorlands, Stafford and East Staffordshire to demonstrate public support. The research, carried out by YouGov, found that 72 per cent of people supported the plans, while just four per cent opposed them. Support was highest in the Staffordshire Moorlands (77 per cent) and lowest in Stafford (65 per cent).

Newcastle and East Staffordshire both saw support of 73 per cent. READ: Truckers and cabbies back A500 and A50 jam-busting plans Forty-three per cent of those asked thought the schemes would reduce journey times for them and their families, while 70 per cent agreed that the upgrade plan would have wider benefits, such as reducing congestion.

Ninety per cent of those surveyed agreed that road safety should be taken into account when improving roads, and 61 per cent agreed that climate change was a major factor to think about in regards to road improvements. Midlands Connect’s masterplan includes the following individual schemes: Western section

  • Strategic improvements to junction 15 to resolve congestion, improve safety and facilitate better flow of traffic on the M6 and A500.
  • Enhancements at Sideway interchange to make traffic flow more smoothly, including strategic changes to the roundabout and lanes at the junction and address the signalled junctions that cause traffic to build up on the route.
  • Technology-led improvements to the reliability and safety of the M6 between Junction 15 and 16.
  • New technology to provide resilience on the strategic road network – this would include better pre-travel and in-vehicle information tools to compensate for reduced capacity on the A500 in case of incidents on the M6.

Central section

  • Grade separation of the A50 and local roads at two locations in Uttoxeter, with associated slip roads to provide access and other potential enhancements to support growth and enhance local active travel networks.
  • Enhancements to existing roundabouts at Sudbury and Blythe Bridge to increase capacity and reduce delays.

Eastern section

  • Improvements to A38/A50 Toyota junction to improve capacity, safety and general operation.
  • Widening of the A50 south of Derby, between Junction 2 for the A6 at Chellaston and Junction 3 for the A514 near Aston-on-Trent.
  • Building a new link road between the A50 (near junction 1) and A42 (near junction 14, Breedon-on-the-Hill).

Midlands Connect and its partners are proposing Junction 15 and the central section around Uttoxeter as the priorities for RIS 3, which will run from 2025 to 2030.

If the funding bid is successful, the first phase of the works could start as early as 2025. Midlands Connect head of roads Swati Mittal said: “Over the last two years, Midlands Connect has undertaken intensive analysis to help understand the A50/A500 corridor and working to identify current and future traffic problems, building the case for investment. It is great to see our work being given the thumbs up and being supported by residents to such a degree.

This research will now play a key role in helping to make the case for investment in the A50/A500. “Midlands Connect will now work with Government and national bodies like National Highways to seek their support in progressing at pace with our proposals ensuring the businesses, communities, towns and cities it serves are able to reach their potential and benefit from sustainable growth, healthier living and prosperity for decades to come.” Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills Philip White said: “The upgrade of the A50/A500 corridor will make a major contribution to the future growth not only of Staffordshire but also the Midlands and wider UK economy.

“As a county council we have set out our economic development priorities which includes improving our strategic transport routes. “The planned improvements form part of a wider proposal to enhance the productivity of a corridor which is home to many of the country’s leading manufacturers that has huge potential to boost the local and national economy. We’re pleased they have received overwhelming backing from local communities.

“We look forward to working closely with Midlands Connect and other council partners to deliver the plans set out in the report, building on our previous successful redevelopment of the A50 Uttoxeter junction close to JCB, with National Highways.” Newcastle MP Aaron Bell said: “I am not surprised to see such strong support in Newcastle-under-Lyme for these proposals, since traffic and delays on the A50/A500 can be a major inconvenience for my residents. I look forward to working with Midlands Connect to push for this important investment into our local infrastructure.”

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