M5 junction improvements proposed by Somerset Council

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Plans to improve access to the M5 from Weston-super-Mare have been extended by North Somerset Council.

The council has already put in a funding bid for £15m to central government to improve traffic flows heading into the town from the M5.

The additional £5m funding bid is to tackle traffic congestion on Somerset Avenue heading out of Weston.

If funding for the improvements to junction 21 of the M5 is approved, the scheme could be complete by mid 2016.

Councillor Elfan Ap Rees, the council's deputy leader, said junction 21 was struggling to cope during rush hours.

"Proposals for future development will increase traffic pressures at junction 21 where there is already extended queuing and journey times on both Somerset Avenue and Bristol Road which backs up to Queensway junction," he said.

"We need to do all we can to enhance the transport infrastructure, making the area a more attractive proposition for business and reduce congestion for travellers."

Bypass shelved

The council had originally sought funding from the Department of Transport for a bypass but that funding is no longer available.

"What we've been doing is looking at alternative options for enhancing the capacity of junction 21" said Mr Rees.

"The best performing option involves work to widen the approach to the junction 21 roundabout on Somerset Avenue, increase the extent of widening around the roundabout and some widening to the north-bound M5 slip road."

The £15.2m Weston Package also includes improvements to the A370 Gateway and enhancements at Worle Station.

Subject to funding approval, construction will begin in late 2012.

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