The A46 Strategic Link Road is a very exciting scheme both for Warwickshire and the wider sub-region.
Coventry and Warwickshire has the fastest growing economy within the West Midlands. Infrastructure investment is needed in key corridors such as the A45 and A46 to provide the conditions for businesses to continue to invest in the area. An efficient transport network with sufficient capacity and resilience is key to maintaining and supporting future growth, and this is exactly what the A46 Strategic Link Road scheme aims to deliver.
The strategic case for the A46 Link Road aims to address the following key areas:
Improved access to the University of Warwick and local businesses
There is a need to improve local and strategic connectivity to the University of Warwick and adjacent employment sites, in order to support the substantial committed and planned growth of this area over the next 10-15 years.
Current access is constrained by the need to travel through already congested networks and residential areas.
A number of important research facilities such as the National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC) are located at the University which have strong links to the priority sectors identified within the Coventry and Warwickshire Strategic Economic Plan.
Delivering wider A46 corridor growth
Major employment growth is either committed or planned more widely along the A46 corridor, including Fen End, Whitley South, Coventry Airport, Ryton and Ansty. There are also a number of significant housing developments proposed within the Warwick District Local Plan around Kenilworth and parts of south west Coventry which, based on the evidence provided within the County Council’s Strategic Transport Assessment, will require the A46 Stoneleigh Junction to be delivered within the Plan period.
The A46 provides the glue which links these various areas together both locally and more widely across the sub-region, providing key business to business connectivity for companies such as Jaguar Land Rover and its supply chain. Within this context, it is vital that key junctions such as Stoneleigh are fit for purpose.
A45 corridor congestion reduction and growth
Coventry City Council has recently delivered a comprehensive package of Local Pinch Point capacity improvements at key junctions along and in the vicinity of the A45 corridor. In the case of the A45/A429 Kenilworth Road junction, the Pinch Point improvements were originally only envisaged to provide short term relief, with grade separation of the junction expected to be necessary in the future in order to provide continuing long term congestion and growth benefits to this area of the city and wider sub-region.
The proposed A46 Link Road will reduce the need for any further major improvements to A45/A429 Kenilworth Road for the foreseeable future, as the A46 Stoneleigh Junction and A46 Strategic Link Road are expected to deliver similar or greater benefits in terms of congestion reduction and growth to the A45 corridor. This will allow sustainable growth to come forward in future Local Plans in both the city and adjoining area of Warwick District.
Delivering the A46 'Expressway'
The Expressway concept promoted through the Government’s ‘Road Investment Strategy 2015/16 – 2019/20’ (RIS1) for certain sections of the trunk road network envisages a motorway standard experience for users, with dual carriageway provision and grade-separated junctions.
Major capital investment in the A46 has taken place over the last 10 years, including improvements at M40 Junction 15 (Longbridge) and A45/A46 Tollbar End/Stivichall. Further works are committed in RIS1 at A46/A428 Binley and A46/B4082 Walsgrave, and at A46/A425/A4177 Stanks as a result of Growth Deal monies and other local funding. These improvements will all contribute towards the delivery of the A46 as an Expressway between the M6/M69 and M40. The proposed improvements to the A46 Stoneleigh Junction are consistent with the Expressway concept. As such, Highways England is supportive and engaged in this element of the A46 Stoneleigh Junction scheme.
Delivering strategic resilience to the Midlands motorway hub
There is an emerging recognition of the need to look at the medium/long term interventions which will be required to support the strategic resilience of the Midlands Motorway Hub (M5/M6/M42). The Midlands Connect ‘Picking up the Pace’ report and emerging Midlands Connect Strategy refers to the role which a substantially improved A5 and A46 could play in achieving this. Delivery of the A46 Strategic Link Road will provide a significant new east-west route which could potentially help complement and provide resilience to the M40, M42 and M6 within the Coventry/Warwickshire/Solihull area.
At a local level, the A46 Strategic Link Road will:
- address an existing congestion and safety issue at the A46/C32 Stoneleigh Road interchange.
- mitigate HS2 construction traffic impacts on certain communities within the Kenilworth and Stoneleigh area
- significantly reduce the amount of traffic on Stoneleigh Road and Gibbet Hill Road which is trying to access the University of Warwick and surrounding employment areas
- reduce the current trend for local rat-running of traffic on routes such as Crackley Lane, Bockendon Road and Hollis Lane.