Robin Walker welcomes £3.2million funding to combat city centre congestion

Following last week’s announcement of record £54.5million funding to dual the Southern Link road, Worcester MP Robin Walker has welcomed further vital funding to address congestion on roads in the city centre.

As part of a nationwide funding package, Worcester has been granted £3.2million to improve city centre vitality and development potential by reducing congestion and improving efficiency at several key junctions. This will be achieved through investment in smart technology and sustainable measures, targeting and improving outdated infrastructure, design, and pedestrian/cycle facilities by applying new design standards, equipment and methods of control. This will include investment in traffic signals to improve network efficiency and tackle poor local air quality, public realm improvements to improve facilities for pedestrians and cyclists and improved highway design.

The project covers Worcester city centre’s west-east axis along the A44 corridor. This includes the Dolday gyratory and Croft Road, Sidbury/Commandery and City Walls Road, and the St Johns island/Bullring junctions – all notorious ‘pinch points’ in the city. As the main arterial route through Worcester and the only city centre road crossing over the River Severn, the investment will alleviate congestion on the city’s busiest commuter route.

Robin supported Worcestershire County Council’s ambitious bid and, along with the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, pressed the Department for Transport on the economic and environmental case as well as the benefit to local motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

The efficiency of the ageing signals infrastructure will be improved by replacing it with Microprocessor Optimised Vehicle Actuation (MOVA), a product developed to overcome some of the problems associated with traditional signal control systems. MOVA traffic signals at each of the pinch points identified will enable more efficient demand management, smoothing traffic flow and improving vehicle access and ambient air quality. The signals will also include provision for pedestrians and cyclists to cross, and public realm provision to facilitate improved pedestrian and cycling flow through the highway network.

Speaking after the funding was announced, Robin said:

“This is a really key investment for Worcester city centre, and I welcome the relief it will bring to local residents travelling through the city at peak times.”

“In particular, the changes planned at the Croft Road crossing – moving from a zebra crossing to a traffic light system – will address a notorious pinch point that a large number of constituents have raised with me over the past few years.”

“Those of us who have travelled through Worcester regularly at morning and afternoon rush hour know how quickly congestion can back up – and this has had an impact not only on the growth and vitality of the city centre, but also on the quality of the air we breathe, as evidenced by the Air Quality Management Areas established at Dolday and St Johns.”

 “Once complete, this project will not only make our journeys quicker and easier, but will also improve air quality in Worcester by improving junction efficiency for smoother vehicle flow and reduced emissions. The investment to improve cycle and pedestrian facilities will hopefully encourage more and more people to leave their cars at home and take zero-emission journeys when visiting the city centre.”

“Coming at the same time as the record funding to dual the Southern Link, this investment is extremely welcome news. Out of a funding pot of £85million for the West Midlands, Worcester has received £57.7million – over two-thirds of the regional total. I am delighted to have played a part in securing this funding, and will continue to advocate for investment in Worcester’s infrastructure.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

To read the full details of the city centre improvement scheme, please see: http://www.worcestershire.gov.uk/NPIF

To read Robin’s statement earlier this year announcing £300,000 funding for traffic management systems, see: http://www.walker4worcester.com/walker-welcomes-news-of-300000-grant-to-help-beat-traffic-congestion/

For Robin’s statement on the record £54.5million Southern Link funding, see: http://www.walker4worcester.com/walker-hails-historic-breakthrough-as-government-commits-record-funding-to-dual-southern-link/