I wanted to provide a brief update on where we are with the Towcester Relief Road at the start of 2018.
As you will know, my twin priorities are for the relief road to open by the end of 2020 and for it to serve its core purpose of removing non-local HGVs from the town centre. I have convened a working group – comprised of the councils, the developers, and the highways authorities – that meets quarterly to focus attention on delivering these goals, and I am pleased that we are making progress. Read more on this.
Whilst I am confident that we will be able to agree a signing strategy that will direct non-local HGVs and other through traffic along the relief road, I am doing all that I can to ensure that the A5 Watling Street through the centre of town is detrunked. The planning considerations for the Towcester Southern Extension were clear that the aim was always to detrunk this section of the A5 and impose weight restrictions through Towcester.
The Department for Transport has launched an open consultation on its proposals for the Strategic Road Network (SRN) and its current and future needs. In order to set investment in the SRN the Government publishes a multi-year ‘Road Investment Strategy’ (RIS). The second RIS (RIS2) will cover the financial years 2020/21 to 2024/25. Through the RIS cycle the Department considers, at regular intervals, proposals for changing the extent of the SRN by trunking or de-trunking roads.
I will be responding to the DfT’s consultation to make the case for local residents that the A5 Watling Street through Towcester should be detrunked, particularly given the upgrade of the M1 to a smart motorway which, as the Department outlines, will become the spine of the SRN. As, like me, you want to see HGVs removed from the centre of Towcester and the A5 detrunked, you may wish to consider submitting your own response to the SRN consultation. You can find more information, including how to respond, on the consultation website here.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like more information or if I can be of any help.