Melksham Town bypass plans gets £135m funding pledge

A350 at Beanacre Image copyright Google
Image caption One of the options could see the new eastern bypass A350 being built from Beanacre, north of Melksham

A £135m bypass could come to fruition if Wiltshire Council can formulate a compelling business case.

The government has said the local authority needs to prove the business case and finalise a viable route for Melksham.

Mayor of Melksham Jon Hubbard said: "We've got huge problems with increased traffic coming through Melksham, lots of new houses being built."

If successful, work could begin in 2024 and may take up to four years to build.

'Economically important'

The local authority has been given £1.4m so it can draw up an outline business plan.

Calls for a bypass have grown since 2010 as the eastern side of the town developed with new out-of-town stores and housing.

The council also says there has been a growth in traffic going through the town, adversely affecting air quality levels.

Options for a route for the bypass include coming off the A350 near Beanacre and joining up with new relief roads east of Melksham.

Another, longer route, could see a new road loop down to south of Bowerhill.

The total estimated cost of the project is about £135m, depending on which route is chosen.

"I see young people walking to school in Melksham and see lorries hurtling past them and I'm really worried about their welfare and safety on those routes," added Mr Hubbard.

"I want to see this bypass in place as quickly as possible."

Wiltshire Council has also received £17m to carry out improvements along the A338 in Salisbury.

This work will see the remodelling of Harnham and Exeter Street roundabouts and improving the signals at Park Wall junction on the A36.

Cabinet member for highways Bridget Wayman said: "This funding prioritises the busiest and most economically important roads in the Western Gateway, and will improve connections in the south west... for the people of Wiltshire and visitors."

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