A 20-year development study looking into the economic benefits of the A46 has highlighted the importance of improvements on the route through Lincolnshire, and how they will directly affect the growth of the local economy.
Midlands Connect, a partnership of local authorities, LEPs, businesses, transport companies and the Department for Transport, is campaigning for investment in the route and the acceleration of proposed improvements.
It has released the first ever improvement plan for the entire A46 corridor, with a 20-year development plan to future-proof one of the country’s most important trade routes.
Lincoln was identified as a ‘pinch point’ to boost business.
It also predicts the Midlands economy would benefit from a£7.1 billion boost if projections ring true.
The Sub-national Transport Body said it will support and evaluate current improvement plans like the southern bypass (North Hykeham Relief Road), as well as A15 improvements and A1 junction improvements, to see them brought to fruition.
Stage One of the A46 Corridor Study identified Lincoln as one of the key congestion hotspots where rush hour average speeds regularly fall below 20mph, arguing “investment must be accelerated”.
Almost all (98%) of Lincolnshire businesses surveyed along the route say a more reliable A46 would boost productivity, with 71% creating new jobs if the road is improved.
Supported Lincolnshire improvements
- Potential for southern Lincoln bypass, connecting to the under construction eastern bypass
- Targeted improvements on the A15 north of Lincoln
- Junction improvements between the A1 and Lincoln to provide grade separation
- An upgrade to the A46 around Newark to be prioritised for completion by 2025
Midlands Connect’s improvement plan builds on the work already being done by Highways England and local authorities to improve pinch points along the A46, and on the success of the A46 Partnership in promoting the route as one of local, regional, national and international significance.
Executive Member for Highways Councillor Richard Davies said: “We’ve long been making the case that Lincolnshire deserves greater investment when it comes to roads.
“And we’d agree that improvements to key routes such as the A46 and A15 this would make a significant difference to our economy and local businesses.
“£2.5m has already been earmarked to increase traffic flow at the A46 Riseholme and Nettleham roundabouts, and we’re currently working with Midlands Connect on a study on the A15, in a bid to identify potential improvements.
“And now that plans for a dual carriageway North Hykeham Relief Road have been approved, we’re working on the outline business case for the new road.
“Things are very much in the early stages, and it’s difficult to give a firm timetable for when things might happen, but it does seem like we are moving in the right direction.”