In its attempts to secure funding for a “Bypass” for Hereford City, Herefordshire Council is working with Highways England on justifying the A49 as an alternative route for traffic from the M5/M6 to tackle congestion on the existing motorway network.
The A49 is mainly single carriageway along its route from Ross to Shrewsbury, with a number of notable black spots north and south of Hereford, which have cost too many lives, most recently that of a mother travelling with her children. On Friday 16th December the Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Councillor Price confirmed that he envisaged an enhanced role for the A49 if the “Bypass” were to be built. In an answer to a public question at full council, Councillor Price stated “The large local majors bid (for the Hereford Transport Package) submitted by the council referenced this information and noted that with a bypass for Hereford the A49 could have an enhanced role and provide an alternative for some traffic on the parallel M5/M6 (not M4/M5 as stated in the question) which is forecast to become increasingly congested. As modelling work is progressed the scale of this will be established and will be made available when it is completed and agreed with Highways England”. From this answer it is apparent that information will only be made available to the public when it has been completed and agreed with Highways England. It seems that no information will be made available publicly prior to any agreement.
Herefordshire Council are pursuing this option to fund a “Bypass” without so far having any understanding of how much traffic would increase on the A49 were these proposals to be implemented. The villages and settlements outside of Hereford, through which the A49 passes, have not been given any consideration as to how they will be impacted by large HGVs and larger volumes of motorway traffic looking to avoid congestion on the motorway network. Not content with excessive short journey trips in the City, the council is now proposing excessive long journey trips up and down the County, to get Highways England on side when the council pursues its bid for funding the Hereford “Bypass”. So much for the new housing planned at Three Elms and Holmer, which will now see motorway traffic trundling past their windows at all hours of the day and night, and at high speed, as this will be a strategic route alternative to the Motorway.
The public question and written answer from Councillor Price can be read in full here