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Melksham bypass gets green light from the government

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The government has announced its support to fund plans for a A350 Melksham bypass.

Wiltshire Council reports, “The Melksham scheme, which is estimated to cost around £135m, will bypass the town centre and in turn resolve a critical pinch-point on the A350, improving north to south connectivity throughout the Western Gateway in the south west. It is a part of a package of road improvement measures that will improve the northern section of this north-south route.

“As well as reducing journey times and delays, the scheme will provide significantly enhanced walking and cycling between Melksham town centre and the railway station and other parts of the town.

“Wiltshire Council will now develop an outline business case for the scheme to enable it to progress to the next stage of development under the government’s Major Road Network (MRN) programme.”

The government has also announced its support for improvements to the A338 in Salisbury. Cllr Bridget Wayman, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for highways, said, “This is fantastic news for Wiltshire, and we’re delighted that these two schemes have been given the green light to go ahead.

“This funding prioritises the busiest and most economically important roads in the Western Gateway, and will improve connections in the south west, reducing journey times and improving the roads for the people of Wiltshire and visitors to our county.

“We also have £40m worth of other bids in the pipeline that we hope will be included in the next phase of funding announcements, including dualling the A350 at Chippenham to Lackham, and major improvements at Junction 17 of the M4.

“In Westbury, we’re intending to bid for funds to improve the A350, but this scheme will fall into a further round of government funding, which won’t begin until 2025.”

Wiltshire Council says that both the Melksham and Salisbury schemes are important to support planned and future growth. Outline business cases for these schemes will now be developed to move the projects forward.

20 Responses to Melksham bypass gets green light from the government

  1. Phil Chipper

    February 12, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    Madness reigns, welcome to the asylum. This is as bad day for Melksham.

    Those that welcome it in Beanacre, remember there will be no relief to the existing A350 as it won’t be closed, this will simply be another road. This will not be like the Semington bypass.

    10,000 more houses will be built on the fields surrounding the town. that will be enclosed in this monstrous ring road.

    However let’s start the fight to stop the desecration of our countryside and with a bit of effort we can stall it to a standstill. Wiltshire Council must be forced to face a public enquiry before they can be allowed this stupidity.

  2. Ryan

    February 12, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    Brilliant news. Now get it built asap before the lorries from Bath create even more havoc!

  3. Gary Jardine

    February 12, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    I have never heard so much twoddle from the same person over the past few months.
    The Chippenham relief road has got funding and work will start this year.
    You need to wake up and smell the coffee!
    Myself and thousands of other Melksham residents welcome this news, all bar one that is.

  4. Barry Scarlett

    February 12, 2020 at 5:24 pm

    I am sure Melksham will welcome the bypass. Should help ease a projected increase in heavy goods vehicles using the A350.

  5. Matty

    February 12, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    Where exactly will this new bypass go? Does anyone have a link to a map with it marked on it? Thank you.

  6. Phil Chipper

    February 12, 2020 at 6:03 pm

    Questions about the supposed crisis impact on the A350 through Melksham

    1. Just how many HGV’s currently use the Cleveland bridge currently prior to closure ?

    2. What are these HGV’s start and destination points ?

    Answering these questions will give the best indication of any likely impact to the closure of the Cleveland bridge to HGV’s on the surrounding road systems.

    In answer to question 1, a census point count located immediate south of the bridge on A36 Bathwick street indicates that from 2000 to 2009, the number of HGV’s per day dropped to @800. From then until 2016 the rate stayed steady at an average of 870 per day, with a rise to 950 in 2017. This is both north and south bound.

    Compare this with the A350 in Melksham. Which shows an average of 1400 HGVs per day between 2009 and 2016, increasing to 1600 per day in 2017. This is both north and south bound. In 2017 HGV’s constituted approximately 7% of all vehicles using that stretch of the A350. So if half (475) of the 2017 level HGV’s diverted from the A36 in Bath, to the A350 in Melksham then that would add approximately 30% more HGV’s on that route, and bring the proportion of HGV’s to approximately 9% of all traffic. So in terms of the overall increase in traffic, it would amount to approximately 2%. BUT.

    The guess at an diversion rate of 50% of the 2017 HGV usage on the A36, MUST be see in relation to the possible routes that these vehicle might choose to use as an alternative to the Cleveland bridge, and which can only be understood if the start and finish points are known, as this will dictate the most optimal alternate options. As this is information isn’t known, then simply assuming that they will all, or in significant numbers, divert to using the A350 through Melksham, isn’t any more supportable than suggesting that none will. The most likely outcome will be that a proportion will use the A350 route and the rest other alternatives. What these relative proportions will be isn’t knowable, but it’s doubtful that A350 will see the majority of route deviations, simply based on the potentially large scope of start and finish points for these HGV journeys, and therefore the similarly large number of alternative routes that will offer. Also since the Cleveland bridge closure has been planned and published for some time, it’s very likely that there has been a steady migration to alternative routes already, so if there is any impact it’s probably already been happening to some extent for a while now. Has anyone reported an increase ?

  7. Phil Chipper

    February 12, 2020 at 6:07 pm

    Anyone that lives on the proposed route will now experince all the problems that those that chose to live near the A350 do, despite the fact we had chosen not to live by a main road, but are now going to have it forced on us against our wills. Thank you to all and what a great democracy we live in, where those that haven’t done anything wrong get punished.

  8. Barry Scarlett

    February 12, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    By pass means less traffic for Melksham that must be welcomed

  9. Graham Gillings

    February 12, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    Fantastic news. Been waiting 30 years for a Beanacre bypass. Snowberry lane was built to be part of the eastern bypass. But with £135m I presume it’s a full bypass from Beanacre to Semington.

  10. Barry Scarlett

    February 13, 2020 at 9:43 am

    Good news bypass at last agreed.
    The bypass nearly happened in 1935 so its been a long wait.The intention on another occasion was for a road to be built next to the railway line which would have made a lot of sense. Part of the trade off I understand will be more housing development, which is not good news as Melksham is already way over its quota

    Beanacre still one of only two villages in Wiltshire without a sewerage system. Hopefully that too will soon be remedied.I understand the residents turned it down once.

  11. Anthea Crossman

    February 13, 2020 at 11:17 am

    Let’s hope the new bypass will be dealt with much quicker than the ‘new’ campus that we are STILL waiting for

  12. Spocky McSpockman

    February 13, 2020 at 11:29 am

    “The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few” – Spock

  13. Phil

    February 13, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    I agree with the quote: “The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few” – Spock. As the planned bypass will permanently disrupt the lives of far more people than those experiencing issues with the A350 currently. So let’s hear it for the majority.

  14. ChasE.

    February 13, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    Can’t help wondering how Premier Inns feel about this, having just invested in a new hotel by Leekes on what will eventually become a quiet back road….

  15. Laura

    February 13, 2020 at 11:20 pm

    Sad news for our countryside and peaceful places.

  16. K land

    February 14, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    how will it mean less traffic in Melksham, traffic comes into town for a reason which will still be there afterwards

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  18. Les

    February 20, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    Since this article has been written about the proposed bypass, the amount of traffic has multiplied through Melksham to the extreme. My house overlooks the road in question and I have noticed vast convoys of lorries with cars taking risks to overtake them.
    The overall traffic jams when checking google maps reached past Lacock turn, right through Melksham to Semington.
    This terrible situation has manifested twice this week, although during the week apart from rush hours the traffic flow although heavy has improved.
    I dispute the above comments that lorry flow is small, in a 24 hour estimate as lorries travel also at night I would guess a more realistic figure of 2000 plus.

  19. Mark Harris

    February 20, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    Good news for Beanacre and Melksham – not so good for Bowerhill. Perhaps the Southern end could be extended to join the A361 at Littleton or even the A350 at Hag Hill? And yes, the road through Beanacre will remain open, but it will NOT be the A350 anymore!

  20. Mark

    February 26, 2020 at 9:42 am

    Whilst I am sure this is a welcome relief for those that live on the Beanacre road, this is very sad news for those that bought their houses on the edge of Bowerhill.

    Owners of houses on the Beanacre road, wil at least have bought their houses knowing they were on a major a road. Those residents on the edge of Bowerhill bought their houses with tranquil walks into the country and on to the canal also for a reason, peace and green fields!

    I don’t dispute the fact that this proposed new road, will aid the town, or lessen the impact of those that currently live on the A350. But on the flip side there will of course be environmental impact and disturbance for many years to come.

    As you may have gathered I am one of those that bought their house based on the promises of reserved green land, and still and quiet gardens right on the trajectory line of the proposed road. I for one will be forced to move sooner because of this, all whilst having my house de-valued. Thank you very much!

    I do not welcome this news, and their seems little has been done to inform the residents how they will be affected personally.

    If any thing can be done at least move the proposed route further out so it doesn’t run at such close proximity to ensure that those who currently live hear do not feel and hear the impact.

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