Multi-million pound plans to create a new road between the A500 and the city centre have taken a major step forward – and work could start as early as next year.
Planning permission for the Etruria Valley Link Road, which will run from the Wolstanton junction of the A500 through to the key employment and leisure sites of Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone and Festival Park, has now been granted by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Newcastle Borough Council, with the road crossing both areas.
The scheme, being delivered by the city council, will feature some complex engineering challenges including a new viaduct over the West Coast Mainline railway, a new roundabout and improvements to existing ones, work to the Fowlea Brook and a new canal bridge crossing.
Work on the 1km long road is currently scheduled to start in early 2020 and it is due to open to traffic in 2022. The road will reduce congestion and improve journey times on the A500 and A53 and significantly improve access to the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone and Festival Park, with the potential to ‘unlock’ further land for development and create hundreds of new jobs for the city and wider area.
The development is being funded by central Government through the Department for Transport, the Regional Growth Fund, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the city council and is expected to cost around £40 million. It links to the road widening work already taking place to the A500 between Porthill and Wolstanton, which is being delivered by Highways England to increase capacity on the road.
Cllr Daniel Jellyman, cabinet member for infrastructure, regeneration and heritage at the city council, said: “The link road will be one of the biggest and most complex projects the council has delivered in decades and today is a really exciting day for Stoke-on-Trent with the scheme being approved for development.
“The project is backed by the Department for Transport at a national level, who recognise like we do, the link road’s huge potential to boost the city’s economy and businesses by reducing congestion and further opening up an employment site which is already home to thousands of workers and global companies. The link road could also play a part in our work to improve air quality in the area.
“It is vital that our transport network is able meet our ambitions and the area’s needs for new homes and jobs, and this link road, combined with the work already taking place by Highways England to widen part of the A500, will provide extra capacity to help achieve this. This is one of the key elements in our plans to help increase the prosperity of the city and ensure Stoke-on-Trent can fulfil its potential.”
The Etruria Valley Link Road scheme will include:
• Improving the two roundabouts at the Wolstanton junction on the A500;
• A new viaduct over the West Coast Mainline;
• An extension to Shelton Boulevard.
• A central roundabout linking Shelton Boulevard and Festival Way to the A500;
• A new canal bridge crossing to Festival Way;
• The creation of a mini roundabout at the junction of Grange Lane and Church Lane;
• Enlarging the Marina Way roundabout at Festival Park.
The scheme will now be referred to the Department for Transport for a final funding decision on the link road. This will allow the council to take the next step of appointing a contractor for the scheme.
Alun Rogers, acting chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “Improved connectivity is vital to our ongoing economic growth and this link road will make a huge difference to the city of Stoke-on-Trent.
“Etruria Valley is one of our key employment sites. The new link road will vastly improve accessibility to the site from the A500 and M6, which is a major attraction to new business and potential investors. This is further demonstration of successful delivery of LEP-funded projects together with our partners and will complement our wider growth plans – particularly around the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone.
“This will lead to the creation of more jobs for people living in Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme and the wider Staffordshire area. Having the plans approved is a significant milestone and we look forward to construction getting under way as soon as possible.”
Humzah Mir, project manager for Highways England’s A500 widening scheme, said “Our ongoing work to widen the A500 will tackle congestion on one of the busiest roads in the city as well as improve safety and support the local economy. The Etruria Valley Link Road will complement improvements to the A500, helping traffic to flow more freely.”
For all media enquiries please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232987.