Some Questions and Answers on the Southern Link Road.

Here for Hereford answers some pertinent questions, following the Cabinet’s recommendation to spend £27.6 million on a Southern Link Road from the A49 to the A465 in the South Wye area of Hereford.  According to Herefordshire Council’s  latest background report the Southern Link Road will not deliver the Council’s agreed objectives for the economy and for transport.

1. Does the Southern Link Road open up the Rotherwas Enterprise Zone?
No – the A49-A465 Southern Link Road (SLR) will not improve traffic on the A49, which is contrary to the aims of the Strategic Economic Plan of the Marches LEP as well as being contrary to Herefordshire Council’s own Local Transport Plan. As Herefordshire Council’s Route Selection report states “There is likely to be increased traffic along the A49 in some time periods, but the level of delay at the A49/A465 junction is proposed to remain at existing levels.[1] If this is the professional assessment of a new road, one has to question is this the best use of £27.6 million of taxpayers’ money?

2.Does the Southern Link Road alone deliver the aims of the South Wye Transport Package, which are:-
i) Reduce congestion and delay;
ii) Enable access, particularly to developments such as the HEZ;
iii) Reduce the growth in emissions such as CO2, NOx and PM10s;
iv) Reduce traffic noise;
v) Encourage physical activity;
vi)Reduce accidents ?


The answer to 2(i) is the same as the answer above to Question 1 which shows that there will be no improvement to traffic travelling on the A49 and at certain times the situation could be worse than at present. Traffic on the A465 is forecast to fall but will this actually happen if car movements are just being moved from the A465 to the A49 to then sit in worse traffic on the A49?

2(ii) the A49-A465 road will not improve access to developments such as the HEZ, as  “The 71 ha site … already benefits from the new Rotherwas access road, completed in June 2008, giving the estate quick and easy access to the A49, M50 and the rest of the motorway network”. [2] . Most HGVs do not travel from South Wales to Rotherwas via the A465 due to the existing height restrictions at Pontrilas railway bridge.

2(iii) The same report shows that greenhouses gases will increase as a result of the new road “all scheme options will have a slight adverse impact on greenhouse gases due to vehicles travelling greater distances and at higher speeds.[3]

2(iv) Again the new road fails to deliver this objective “there are negative impacts to the environment, including increasing road traffic noise[4].

2 (v)The Council report shows that 45% of local people travel to work without the use of a car (para 3.1.5) and the majority of trips are less than 2 km. More than 10% of the people in parts of South Wye cycle to work. “All route variations will have an adverse impact on walking and cycling levels in the rural area, discouraging these activities by increasing severance on existing routes and loss of rural amenity through the introduction of traffic noise and proximity to traffic[5]. “The four SLR options are assessed to have a moderate adverse impact on physical activity.” [6]

A “Sustainable Transport” option is not part of the Preferred Option report. Also, nowhere is there a cost/benefit analysis of any of the routes nor that of a “Sustainable Transport” option. Without this information and no comparison made of which is best value for money for the taxpayer what is the real reason for spending £27.6 million on a road that doesn’t deliver?

[1] Parsons Brinkerhoff South Wye Transport Package Preferred Option Report Nov 2014, para 7.6.2.
[2] Marches LEP website.
[3] Parsons Brinkerhoff South Wye Transport Package Preferred Option Report Nov 2014, para 8.3.5
[4] Parsons Brinkerhoff South Wye Transport Package Preferred Option Report Nov 2014, para 10.2.1
[5] Ibid para 9.2.2
[6] Ibid para 9.2.3






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