Congestion at the A50/A500 Sideway Island roundabout to be tackled with £800k investment
CONGESTION at one of the busiest junctions in North Staffordshire will be eased thanks to an £800,000 improvement scheme.
The Highways Agency has announced it will be carrying out the scheme at the A50/A500 Sideway Island roundabout as part of a £217 million Government programme to remove bottlenecks.
Congestion will be reduced and safety improved at Sideway through better signing and road markings, new traffic signals and some minor road widening. The work is set to be carried out in 2014.
According to the Highways Agency, the work has the potential to support the creation of 1,105 jobs and 420 homes by 2020, as well as ease travel between the M6 and M1.
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Peter Ulleri, who runs Burslem consultancy 2050 Logistics and chairs the transport committee at North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, believes the investment will boost the economy.
He said: "Over the last few years we've seen a huge increase in the number of distribution centres in the area and that is because of the good road infrastructure we have here.
"But we cannot rest on our laurels if we want to create more jobs and prosperity.
"Improving the road infrastructure is part of building the foundations of the economic recovery."
Barry Proctor, who runs Talke-based haulage firm Barry Proctor Services, said he hoped the improvements would shorten travel times across North Staffordshire.
He said: "This will be good if it works and reduces congestion, that will be the proof of the pudding.
"A friend of mine had to wait 45 minutes in traffic there the other day. Hopefully these improvements should bring jobs to the area as well.
"I'd like to see some work done at junction 16. I've sometimes been stuck in a queue of traffic on the A500 as far back as the Audley turn-off. They're supposed to be improving junction 15 as well, but these things take time to do."
Councillor Ruth Rosenau, Stoke-on-Trent City Council's cabinet member for regeneration, planning and transportation, said: "Anything which improves transport like this has to be a good thing for Stoke-on-Trent."
Another project, also set for 2014, will see improvements carried out at junction 17 of the M6 at Sandbach.
The £3.4 million scheme will see the existing slip road junctions replaced with a roundabout on the northbound side, and a signalised junction on the southbound side.
According to the Highways Agency, this will support the creation of 14,875 jobs and 1,750 homes
Congleton MP Fiona Bruce has been lobbying for improvements at junction 17 for the last two years.
She said: "When I was first elected MP, people told me that congestion at junction 17 was one of their chief concerns, so I contacted the Highways Agency and arranged a meeting.
"I stressed to them that the junction is not only frequently congested but also potentially highly dangerous, and these risks will only increase over time.
"I am delighted that £3.4 million is being provided directly by Government to improve the junction."