Exciting times as Wokingham Borough Mayor Cllr Malcolm Richards opens the final phase of a major new road in Winnersh to traffic for the first time.
The council’s 2010 local plan included measures to improve the transport capacity in the borough through improvements to the strategic transport network. This included a relief road around Winnersh to relieve an already congested junction. During the initial consultation on the planning application in 2018, thanks to valuable feedback from local residents and businesses, the council made a number of improvements to phase two of the Winnersh Relief Road (WRR). Changes to the plans included moving one of the two new roundabouts on Reading Road, changes to pedestrian crossings, a new right turn lane into Sadler’s Lane and a modification to the positioning of a traffic island opposite Green Lane.
The WRR is an important step towards putting the infrastructure in place to improve the resilience of Wokingham borough’s road network by helping to relieve the existing congestion through Winnersh. The road will also form a continuation of the North Wokingham Distributor Road (NWDR) and provide an alternative route around the borough for non-local traffic travelling through the area once the final phase of the NWDR opens next year (2022).
Mark Cupit, assistant director delivery and infrastructure said: “The opening of this road is an incredible milestone for the borough, and I would like to thank everyone involved along the way. The project has been successfully completed despite having the disruption of a global pandemic.
“We have seen a lot of change in recent years, through the development of new communities and we are committed to ensuring we build the right infrastructure in the right places. The council is investing £1billion in new schools, community and leisure facilities, parks and open spaces and roads to ensure our new communities have what they need to thrive. This final phase of the Winnersh Relief Road is a key piece of the puzzle to help relieve the congestion we have at the Winnersh Sainsbury’s crossroads.”
The new road is part of the council’s major highways project which will see an investment of over £100million and has been funded through developer contributions and the Berkshire-wide Business Rates Retention Pilot (BRRP2). The BRRP2 is part of a Government pilot which allows local councils in Berkshire, including Wokingham Borough, to retain a percentage of the business rates paid by businesses in the borough. A percentage of this money is then allocated to the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for infrastructure projects, and distributed to the Berkshire authorities following a bidding process. The BRRP2 contributed £6.26million to phase two of the WRR.
Bob Mountain, vice chair of the Berkshire Local Transport Body and board director at Thames Valley Berkshire LEP said: “The Winnersh Relief Road scheme aligns with LEP strategic priorities by helping to relieve congestion issues across the wider Winnersh highway network. It also meets the infrastructure needs by supporting delivery of the Hatch Farm Dairies development of over 400 houses as well as the wider need for housing growth in the area. The scheme delivers on many levels – not only reducing existing and future peak hour congestion in Winnersh by providing an alternative route for through traffic but also reducing journey times on the A329 Reading Road through Winnersh. Importantly, it also encourages active travel through the provision of cycle lanes and footpaths.”
Construction of phase two of the WRR to extend the existing Longdon Road, began in August 2020. Now open, the road connects the A329 Reading Road, via a new roundabout, to the B3030 King Street Lane, taking traffic away from the main Winnersh crossroads. Further works will continue on Reading Road as part of the new junction for Old Forest Road.
The first phase of the relief road, Hatch Farm Way, was built by the developer Bovis Homes and opened in June 2018; connecting the B3270 Lower Earley Way to the B3030 King Street Lane and providing access to the new homes and community at Hatchwood Mill.
Please note when using the new road: Vehicles can no longer turn right from Longdon Road onto King Street Lane or from King Street Lane onto Hatch Farm Way.
To find out more about the Winnersh Relief Road and other major new roads projects, please visit the council website and search for ‘major new roads’.
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