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14/08/2019

Work paused on Hereford bypass

Words: Laura Edgar
Infrastructure construction / iStock-95396741

Herefordshire County Council has suspended work on the £129 million Hereford bypass and Southern link road following a change in administration.

The pause, voted for by cabinet members, is to allow further time to review the schemes “in more detail and look at other options”, explained John Harrington, cabinet member for infrastructure and transport.

The Conservative Party previously led the council but the May elections saw an Independent-led administration take over.

The preferred route for the Hereford Bypass is a two-lane single carriageway road that would run west of Hereford. It would connect the A49 to the north of the town and the A465 to the south.

In June this year, Herefordshire Council commissioned detailed design work on the project prior to a planning application being submitted.

It was one of the road projects the subnational transport body Midlands Connect said it wanted to see prioritised under the second national Road Investment Strategy (RIS2) from 2020-2025.

In 2016, the council approved the Southern link road, which would continue the route across the south of Hereford to rejoin the A49, forming a full bypass of the city. Earlier this year, the council agreed minor works such as fencing, excavation and the placing of sub-base material along the new road, with local planners confirming that these works would be sufficient to safeguard the planning permission for the scheme.

Harrington, though, has said there are many complex issues that need to be considered and thoroughly examined.

“The views of residents, commuters and local businesses are very important to us. It is vital that travel, transport and infrastructure developments in Hereford support the economy, help to improve health and wellbeing and make Herefordshire a better place to live, work and visit. We also need to ensure we effectively respond to the climate emergency declared by Herefordshire Council and the government.”

Part of the review will consider alternative options, he continued, including cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, an eastern river crossing, trialling the removal of some traffic signals, options for an electric bus service and improving school bus services, and an ultra-light rail system.

“All options need to be considered as we look to the long term and towards providing a high-quality, integrated and low-carbon transport system for the whole of Herefordshire, not just for the immediate future but for generations to come.”

Image credit | iStock

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