Work to install a new road over river bridge has begun as part of a multi-million-pound road project which will support growth and ease congestion in Stafford.
Seventy-two steel beams – each weighing 58 tonnes – will form the base of the bridge over the River Sow, providing the connection between Madford Retail Park and the section towards Doxey Road. The bridge deck can then be built over the beams.
The work forms part of the Stafford Western Access Route project which began last summer, which will improve traffic flow around the town – particularly near to the railway station – and enable millions of pounds worth of new housing and business development to take place.
The new road will link the A34 Foregate Street at Madford Retail Park to the A518 Newport Road Castlefields junction.
It will help improve traffic flow in Gaol Square, Newport Road (east of Kingsway), Station Road, Chell Road, A34 Foregate Street (south of the scheme) and Doxey Road.
It is being funded by developers and with £15.5 million secured by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through the Government’s Local Growth Fund. Both the county and borough councils also contributed to the scheme.
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport David Williams said: “The Stafford Western Access Route is a huge project for the county town and for Staffordshire. It is critical for Stafford’s future growth and so to see the progress so far – particularly considering pandemic restrictions – is rewarding to the county council, communities and our businesses.
“The route really is taking shape now and people can see how it will make a difference to the town – enabling both housing and business development and easing congestion in the centre of Stafford and near the railway station.
“The river bridge construction is a critical phase of the project, connecting the northern section to Doxey Road.”
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Stafford Borough Council’s cabinet member for economic development and planning, Frances Beatty said: “It is simply fantastic to see another key milestone reached in this important project that will help unlock many millions of pounds worth of new investment, as well as ease congestion for our county town.
“Stafford Western Access Route is the essential piece of the jigsaw in our development programme, helping bring more prosperity to the centre of Stafford town. It is integral to the vision of the Station Gateway, to the proposed transformation of the High Street and it builds on the recent superb restoration of the historic Victoria Park.”
LEP chairman Alun Rogers added: “We’re pleased to see such rapid progress at one of our major projects which will deliver growth, attract investment and support job creation for our communities.
“Covid-19 has hit our economy hard, as it has nationally, and so continuation of the Stafford Western Access Route and other projects will be vital for our longer-term recovery. The completed route will complement successful delivery of the Stafford Gateway project and our future HS2 connection.
“The project demonstrates to people, business, future investors and the Government the successful working across the public and private sectors in Staffordshire.”