WORCESTERSHIRE County Council has agreed to look into dualling a key part of the main route between Malvern and the M5.
Council chiefs gave the green light to the next stage of improvements of the Southern Link Road – A4440 – at the authority’s latest Cabinet meeting (Thursday, September 25).
Phase one of the £33million project has already been completed while phase two is under way and now following the latest decision phase three can get started, which will mainly see enhancements to the east side of the road.
The move has also allowed the council to get the ball rolling with exploring phase four which will see the entire length of the A4440 between the Powick and Ketch roundabouts, dual-tracked including the Carrington Bridge.
Coun Simon Geraghty, responsible for economy, skills and infrastructure, described the decision as a ‘vital piece of the jigsaw’ which meant a credible business case could be put forward to the Government to fund the works.
During the discussion council vice-chairman Ian Hopwood, who represents Malvern’s Langland division, also called for a phase five to be introduced into the scheme dedicated to improving the A449 Malvern Road. Council leader Adrian Hardman did not rule out the idea but added it would be best to secure funding for phase four before discussing any further development.
The Southern Link is one of Worcestershire’s busiest routes used by an estimated 30,000 vehicles a day.
Coun Geraghty said without the improvements it would be ‘impossible’ to deliver the South Worcestershire Development Plan – a housing blueprint for Malvern, Wychavon and Worcester up until 2030, which is currently under public consultation.
He added: “We’ve been clear that we’d be adopting a phased approach to this work with schemes offering real and immediate benefits fitting into the wider plan of dual-tracking the entire length of the A4440 from Powick Island to Whittington Roundabout.
“Today’s decision demonstrates our commitment to realising this ambition and represents the largest single investment in road-building for decades. It also demonstrates our real commitment to ensuring Worcestershire is very much ‘Open for Business’ in the years to come.”