Press release

Go ahead for two new road schemes in the Midlands

Junction 19 of the M1 and the A45 and A46 Tollbar End junction are going to be upgraded.

Two major road schemes to upgrade key junctions on routes in the Midlands have been given the go-ahead today (18 July 2013) by the Roads Minister Stephen Hammond, after successfully completing the final stages of the planning process.

Improvements to the M1 junction 19 (A14) Catthorpe interchange near Rugby and A45 and A46 Tollbar End junction near Coventry which are both used by over 90,000 vehicles each day, can now move to the next stage of development. This means that the Highways Agency can now continue to work with contractors on progressing and completing detailed project designs for both schemes, with construction work due to start between January and March 2014.

Roads Minister Stephen Hammond said:

It is great that we have been able to give the green-light for both of these important interchanges and they can now move a step closer towards construction.

These improvements are vital for the economy, but most importantly for motorists in the Midlands, in reducing congestion levels and making journey times quicker in and around these 2 busy junctions.

Today’s (18 July 2013) decision to progress both schemes is the result of the Department for Transport and the Department for Communities and Local Government accepting the planning and environmental recommendations made by independent inspectors. The reports outlining the recommendations for the M1 J19 (A14) Catthorpe interchange and the A45 and A46 Tollbar End junction can be found on the Department for Transport’s website.

Notes to editors

M1 J19 Catthorpe Interchange decision:

A local public inquiry was held on nine sitting days between 5 March 2013 and 15 March 2013, before Diane Lewis, BA(Hons) MCD, MA, LLM, MRTPI, an independent inspector appointed by the Secretaries of State for Transport and for Planning.

A decision on published draft orders under the Highways Act 1980 is taken jointly by the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government – who is responsible for planning.

The Secretaries of State have accepted the inspector’s recommendations in her report of the local inquiry.

The junction between the M1, M6 and A14 is important for north/south and east/west traffic movements across the UK. The M6 and A14 route is also part of the Ireland UK Benelux Trans-European network. Around 142,000 vehicles use this junction every day.

Junction 19 is located some 7 kilometres to the north east of Rugby and 23 kilometres east of Coventry and the key objectives of the published scheme are to reduce congestion and improve journey reliability, improve road safety and conditions for vulnerable users and separate local traffic from long distance traffic.

The improvements will provide free-flow links for the major turning movements at Junction 19, whilst retaining the M1 on its current alignment allowing free-flow traffic to pass between the M6 and A14. It will also include a three-level interchange involving the construction of 6 new bridges and the demolition of 2 existing bridges.

As part of the improvement, the local road network will be improved by a new link between Rugby Road and Shawell Lane north of the M6; a local route under the junction between Swinford and Catthorpe; and improvements to Shawell Lane between Catthorpe Road and the M6.

Today’s (18 July 2013) decision together with the inspector’s report, are available on department’s website.

A45 and A46 Tollbar End junction improvement decision:

The Tollbar End roundabout is an important junction on the UK strategic road network, south of Coventry.

The junction provides movement between the M40, M42, M45, M6, M1 and M69 motorways, and provides a link for vehicles between London and the Midlands. The junction also facilitates the movement of local traffic, in particular to Coventry airport and nearby businesses and industries.

The scheme offers significant improvements to both strategic and local traffic, as it would increase the capacity of the A45 and A46 Tollbar End Roundabout, enabling traffic to flow more easily through the junction, reducing rat running in southern Coventry.

Around 90,000 vehicles use the A45 and A46 Tollbar End roundabout every day – a significantly greater number than the existing junction’s design capacity. The resulting congestion means that motorists are enduring large queues going onto Tollbar End roundabout and subsequent long delays.

A local inquiry was held between 26 January 2010 and 3 February 2010 on four sitting days before Mr J P Watson, BSc, FCIHT,MICE, MCMI, an independent inspector appointed by the Secretaries of State for Transport and for Planning.

The Secretaries of State published an interim decision letter on 9 April 2013 that stated that they were “minded-to” accept in principle the Inspector’s recommendation. However, since the close of the 2010 inquiry, a number of changes were proposed to the published scheme and the economic and environmental evidence published in 2009 needed to be updated.

A public consultation was carried out on these changes between 3 May 2013 and 3 June 2013. A total of some 3400 leaflets were distributed to properties within a 300 metre band of the proposed scheme, to statutory bodies, objectors and other stakeholders and interested parties. Seventeen responses were received to the consultation.

Plans showing the proposed modifications together with a revised ‘Traffic forecasting report’, ‘Economic assessment report’ and ‘Environmental update report’ were placed on deposit locally. The information and documentation was also available on-line.

Today’s (18 July 2013) decision follows acceptance of the 2010 inquiry inspector’s recommendation and consideration of the responses to the consultation exercises on the proposed changes. The decision letter and the inspector’s report are available on the DfT’s website.

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