A new road project council bosses say will boost growth and ease congestion in Stafford has reached its latest milestone.
The County Council say the Stafford Western Access Route will enable millions of pounds worth of new housing and business development to take place. It will also improve traffic flow in the town centre, particularly by the railway station.
The new road will link the A34 Foregate Street at Madford Retail Park to the A518 Newport Road Castlefields junction.
It is hoped the road will help improve traffic flow in Gaol Square, Newport Road (east of Kingsway), Station Road, Chell Road, A34 Foregate Street (south of the scheme) and Doxey Road.
Work is taking place on Doxey Road and today (November 8) a new temporary mini-roundabout, providing access to the Stafford Borough Council and Sainsbury’s car park during the scheme period, opens to traffic.
It will mean the current access will close while the new roundabout is built.
In addition, vacant buildings off Doxey Road formerly occupied by Stafford company Saint Gobain (formerly Universal Grinding Wheel) will be demolished in a controlled way.
This will make way for a new roundabout and future development; with Saint Gobain having recently relocated to the county council-developed Redhilll Business Park near to the A34.
The buildings set for the bulldozers include an office block, gatehouse and former factory. All the masonry will be crushed and used within the Stafford Western Access project.
The road is being funded by developers and with £15.5million secured by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Enterprise Partnership through the Government’s Local Growth Fund.
Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said:
“Work is now well under way on this long-awaited project which is vital for Stafford’s future growth. This is a significant milestone – changing the landscape off Doxey Road by removing vacant industrial buildings.
"We are pleased Saint Gobain relocated to Redhill; continuing its operations and providing employment in Stafford.
“Next month also sees a change in the configuration of Doxey Road and the Sainsbury’s temporary access arrangements.
“The Stafford Western Access Route will enable future development contained in the borough’s local plan – notably the delivery of thousands of new homes and business, office and retail space. It will also reduce congestion in the town centre, particularly around the railway station.
“We will be keeping in contact with local residents, businesses and partner organisations throughout the scheme.”
A council spokesperson said that while some traffic management will be put in place, the majority of work will be off current roads and so disruption will be kept to a minimum.
Later in the scheme the only road closures will be on Doxey Road and Greyfriars at its junction with Madford Retail Park.
There will also be some lane closures on the A34 Foregate Street, though traffic will still be able to use the other lanes.
A full closure of Doxey Road will need to be put in place for one weekend in early 2021 and again for four weeks just afterwards.
The four-week closure will only take place when the new section of road from Doxey Road to Castlefields is open. Traffic can then follow a short diversion onto Newport Road.
The council says that the scheme will include improved conditions for bus services, pedestrians and cyclists; and that there will also be environmental benefits through the redevelopment of areas of derelict land and landscaping along the route.