Gloucestershire County Council has announced option 2 as its preferred design for the proposed upgrade to M5 Junction 10.
This option was the favourite with those who took part in last year’s consultation. Currently M5 Junction 10 only has slip roads to and from the north (north facing). This puts extra pressure on already congested local roads, particularly on Junction 11, which provides access to and from Cheltenham on the A40.
The proposals would see slip roads go in both directions, providing improved access to west and north west Cheltenham. Option 2 would upgrade the junction with a roundabout constructed above the motorway, centred on the existing junction and connecting the motorway slip roads to the local highway network.
Following a bid to Homes England’s Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) in March 2019, the county council has successfully secured £249 million for the proposed scheme.
The M5 is managed by Highways England who have been working closely with the county council to develop the proposals for the motorway junction and support the project as it moves forward.
As well as proposals to improve Junction 10, an options consultation, held in the autumn last year, also asked for views on plans for a new road linking Junction 10 to west Cheltenham, an upgraded A38/A4019 junction at Coombe Hill and widening of the A4019 east of the new link road towards Cheltenham.
Overall, the consultation found a high level of agreement on the need for the scheme, with more than 80% of survey respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing that the scheme is necessary. The most popular option for the junction upgrade selected in the consultation was option 2 with 37% of respondents favouring this arrangement.
Following the publication of a summary consultation report in March, a detailed consultation report has now been released. Since the consultation, further engineering, design and survey work, together with the consultation feedback, has informed the selection of the preferred options for the wider project.
The county council has also decided that the proposal to upgrade the A38/A4019 junction at Coombe Hill will now be progressed as a separate project. It is hoped that dealing with this separately from the other scheme elements could enable the Coombe Hill junction improvement programme to be accelerated.
The scheme elements will now be developed further before an opportunity to give feedback on the detailed proposals in a statutory consultation expected to be towards the end of 2021. Further work will follow to confirm the scheme before applying for planning consent. It is currently anticipated that the upgraded junction will be open in 2024.
The Homes England funding for Junction 10 also includes the provision of an expanded park and ride facility at Arle Court to help to ease congestion further by taking traffic off local roads. Consultation and planning on this scheme element, now known as Arle Court Transport Hub, will take place later this year with construction anticipated to follow in 2022.
Councillor David Gray, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “Announcing our preferred option is a key milestone in the project to upgrade Junction 10 of the M5. It’s great that we are making significant progress on this scheme which will greatly improve access to and from west Cheltenham, improve air quality by easing congestion on local roads and provide a boost to jobs and the county’s economy. I’m pleased that the options consultation was so well supported and that there is an excellent level of public backing for these proposals.”
Andrew Alcorn, Highways England Programme Leader, said: “Highways England is delighted to be working in partnership with Gloucestershire County Council on these much needed improvements that will support economic growth plans both locally and throughout Gloucestershire, as well as help to solve long standing traffic and travel issues and improve air quality.
“We welcome the preferred route announcement following the consultation; getting the views of road users, the local community and businesses was crucial to designing a project that offers the best value and provides benefits for all, while reducing the impact on the environment.”
You can also email M5Junction10@atkinsglobal.com if you have any questions regarding the proposed scheme.