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Major Midlands Connect report outlines planned A46 Newark bypass upgrade

Business leaders and politicians have backed plans for the A46 Newark bypass upgrade and have urged the government to get on with the project.

A report released by Midlands Connect, which examines transport projects across the region, says the bypass is not performing at a standard that meets current and future needs.

Its chairman, Sir John Peace, of Caunton, says the £400m to £500m improvement scheme was imperative.

The new bypass will fill in this dual carriageway gap on the A46 and tackle congestion on the outskirts of Newark.
The new bypass will fill in this dual carriageway gap on the A46 and tackle congestion on the outskirts of Newark.

The A46 Newark bypass is a heavily trafficked route, with an average of 15,440 to 16,290 vehicles passing through the corridor north and sound each day.

As a result vehicle speeds have fallen, exacerbated by congestion at junctions, all of which operate at excess of 75% of their maximum capacity, with the exception of the Farndon roundabout.

The high traffic volumes also contribute to significant safety issues along the bypass.

Between 2017 and 2021, 77 vehicle collisions were recorded along the bypass with hotspots at junctions, particularly at the Cattlemarket junction.

A key part of the scheme is widening 6.5km of existing single carriageway between the Farndon and Winthorpe roundabouts, to a dual carriageway.

Planned improvements will be made to the traffic signals at the Farndon roundabout to improve traffic flow during peak hours.

A new dual-carriageway bridge will also be built over the A1, the Winthorpe roundabout will be enlarged and partial signalling installed to reduce congestion, and a flyover junction will be built at the Cattlemarket roundabout.

If delivered, Midlands Connect forecast a 30% reduction in journey times for traffic using the improved section.

Results from a National Highways consultation showed 53% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the proposed improvements.

Midlands Connect chairman, Sir John Peace said: “Newark is the missing piece of the puzzle for the A46 and Midlands Connect’s firm and strong recommendation is for the government to grasp the nettle and finish this vital upgrade of the Trans Midlands trade corridor.

“It will make a massive difference for Newark, Nottinghamshire but also the Midlands and the wider UK.

“This report is a summary of our work in Newark and is part of Midlands Connect’s actions for continuing to make the case for investment along the A46 Newark bypass.

“Given how this scheme was initially proposed as a RIS2 scheme and given the numerous studies that have clearly set out the urgent need for investment along this section of the corridor, it is imperative that this scheme is now implemented as a matter of urgency without further delay.”

Robert Jenrick, MP for Newark said: “I am pleased to support Midlands Connect in updating the Strategic Case for the A46 Newark bypass.

“This initiative is a critical step towards ensuring that our region gets the infrastructure investment it desperately needs.

“By widening 6.5km of the existing single carriageway to a dual carriageway between Farndon and Winthorpe roundabouts, congestion will be significantly reduced in our area.

“The upgraded A46 Newark bypass will serve as a vital trade corridor linking the M5 to the Humber Ports and will result in smoother journeys for the approximately 17,000 daily drivers who rely on it.

“I look forward to the timely completion of this project and am eager to collaborate on conveying the results to relevant authorities and government departments, particularly in seeking to ensure the £500m investment from the government for this infrastructure project.

“The A46 Newark bypass is a key component of our region’s infrastructure, and its enhancement supports a vision for sustainable growth and prosperity in and around Newark.”

Keith Girling, Nottinghamshire County Council’s cabinet member for economic development and asset management, added: “This is a major investment in a key Nottinghamshire route which will bring many benefits.

“These include easing congestion for residents and businesses as well as boosting the county’s infrastructure and economy.”

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles, said: “Major road infrastructure is an essential part of economic growth as providing easy, fast and reliable connections across various parts of the country encourages trade between those cities, towns and villages.

“Businesses are often encouraged to locate themselves where they can benefit from high-quality connectivity, which enhances operational efficiency and productivity.

“This is already evidenced by some of the household names that are based in and around Newark, a town that has a key national strategic location.

“Key road networks are also a magnet for housing developments that feed customers and workers into these firms.

“The A46 is an important east-west connection, and these improvements would spark economic opportunities for our businesses and communities, which ultimately drives investment, jobs and wealth creation in our region.”

Richard Davies, vice-chairman of Transport for the East Midlands, said: “Unlocking the full potential of the A46 as a vital national trade corridor is essential to driving economic growth and prosperity for Newark and across Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.

“The A46 Newark Northern Bypass remains Transport for the East Midland’s top strategic road priority, alleviating the persistent ‘bottleneck’ from Farndon to the A1 and A17 interchange, curbing congestion, pollution, and safety concerns, while encouraging smooth trade connections between the Humber and East Midlands Freeports with Bristol.”

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