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Multi-million pound upgrade for the A339

Road crucial to Newbury's economic and housing growth to receive £10m upgrade

John Herring

Reporter:

John Herring

Contact:

01635 886633

43-2012A Traffic

The A339 in Newbury – deemed critical to the town’s economic and housing growth – is to benefit from a £10m upgrade.

West Berkshire Council has been awarded £5,610,000 from the Department for Transport to refurbish the road from Chieveley to the Greenham Business Park.

The council, which, along with other local bodies, will contribute another £5m to the scheme, said that the upgrades would provide wide-ranging benefits, including improved safety, reduced journey times and future maintenance savings.

The money will also be used to improve four key junctions around regeneration and housing sites in Newbury plus the provision of a 1km footway/cycleway.

The council stated in its bid for the cash that 10,500 homes must be built in the district by 2026.

Of these 5,400 homes will be built in Newbury around the A339, including the 2,000 homes at Sandleford Park and 1,500 at Newbury Racecourse.

It adds that as the A339 will provide access to these developments it is crucial to providing housing and economic growth over the life of its current local plan.

The council said that although the improvements would have been carried out anyway, the government money allows them to be carried out sooner and at a considerable saving to the local public purse.

Head of highways and transport, Mark Edwards, said: “All roads have a lifespan and need to be maintained and eventually re-surfaced. The timing is perfect for planning the necessary upgrade of the A339 over the next few years."

Indeed, the council's application states that the surface of the road is beginning to wear and that deterioration is likely to be accelerated and sudden; and if funding had not been secured, it would have to draw on its limited capital resources to undertake minimal safety maintenance.

Nevertheless, local investments of £5,100,000 will be injected into the scheme bringing the total to £10,710,000. Developer's contributions worth £2,350,000 will also be used; £370,000 from existing agreements along with £1,980,000 from the Racecourse development, while funding from the Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership has also contributed £1,900,000 for a new junction to serve the regenerated London Road Industrial Estate.

The partnership has also provisionally awarded £2,000,000 towards the construction of a new junction from the A339 to Sandleford, anticipated to be built in 2018/19.

The council will also receive £5,069,000 from the Department for Transport to replace more than 10,000 street lights with dimmable LED energy saving bulbs. The council will invest £2,172,000 to the scheme bringing the total to £7,241,000.

"Staff here put together two impressive bids for a share of this funding and their hard work has literally paid off," Mr Edwards said.

The money towards both schemes is part of the £6 billion worth of funds to road improvements announced in December.

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