Funding approved for tunnel under M4
Two major highway schemes in Swindon will benefit from more than £45m in government funding, it has been announced.
The funding for improvements to White Hart roundabout and the construction of the Wichelstowe Southern Access are two of just four schemes allocated money by the Department for Transport (DfT) in an initial £100m wave of investment in the UK’s roads.
The improvements to White Hart roundabout will support the forthcoming 8,000-home New Eastern Villages development to the east of the A419. The scheme will increase capacity at the junction to accommodate the significant increase in traffic that will be generated by this important urban development.
The DfT has allocated £22.5m to Swindon Borough Council for the junction upgrade, which will see the creation of a new northbound slip road, the widening of the southbound slip road, an increase in the number of lanes and the installation of traffic signals.
Work is due to start this month and is expected to be finished in the spring of 2021.
The Wichelstowe Southern Access will benefit from £22.9m in DfT funding and will create an additional access into Wichelstowe by building a tunnel underneath the M4.
It is a requirement of the planning permission for the wider Wichelstowe site and will help support 4,500 new homes, a new district centre and will also unlock 12.5 hectares of employment land, supporting around 2,000 new jobs.
The work is expected to be complete by the spring of 2021, allowing the next stage of the Wichelstowe development to move ahead.
Funding for both schemes will be allocated via Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP).
Councillor Gary Sumner, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, said: “This is a huge vote of confidence in our house building plans by the Government and it is a real feather in our cap that we have two of the first four major highway schemes in their UK-wide investment programme.
“The funding for the White Hart roundabout means we can immediately begin the improvement works and I’m sure drivers in East Swindon will welcome the news that we are tackling congestion at one of the Borough’s key interchanges.
“The £22.9m for the Wichelstowe Southern Access is very welcome news indeed because it will unlock thousands of new homes and employment land, which will bring a significant number of jobs to the town.
“We are proud of the work that has so far taken place at Wichelstowe. We have delivered a new District Centre, we have fantastic new schools, the recently restored Wilts and Berks canal and now the new homes at Canalside are about to go on sale.”
Councillor Maureen Penny, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and the Environment, said: “These are exciting times for Swindon and we will continue to make the case to the Government for additional funding to help bring forward similar highways schemes across the Borough.
“I am delighted the Government has recognised our work to improve and construct new roads before new housing is built, alleviating congestion by creating extra capacity on our road network.”