Plans to unlock economic growth in the south west by creating a new £45m junction on the M49 at Avonmouth near Bristol took a step forward today (9th February).
Highways England announced the preferred option for the new junction, which is part of the Government’s £15bn road investment programme. The junction will improve road access and provide a much-needed connection into the Avonmouth and Severnside Enterprise Area from the motorway network.
The port of Avonmouth and the Avonmouth/Severnside Enterprise Area to the west of Bristol currently have no direct access to the M49.
Featuring a two bridge junction design, the proposal uses the existing bridge at Farm Lane with a second bridge being built immediately adjacent.
The two bridges will be incorporated into a single roundabout that spans the motorway with new access and exit slip roads built on both sides of the junction so that it connects fully with both northbound and southbound traffic.
The design of the Farm Lane Two Bridge option will now be taken forward and will involve the detailed design of the new layout including drainage requirements, pedestrian, cyclist and equestrian access, as well as environmental improvements.
Subject to statutory approval under the Highways Act 1980 and approval from the Secretary of State, construction is planned to start by the end of 2017.
The decision will dramatically accelerate the logistics property growth already underway at Avonmouth.
Tim Davies (pictured), head of the Bristol office of global real estate specialists Colliers International, said: “At long last work can get underway on this vital stretch of road that will provide access for Western Europe’s biggest Brownfield development site.
“The implications of the new M49 junction for Bristol and the South West are far-reaching. This significant infrastructure improvement will provide improved access and unlock the huge economic potential of the Avonmouth/Severnside Enterprise Area, and this will in turn boost the economy of the wider Bristol area.
“Growth in this strategically-important area will now inevitably accelerate dramatically, as potential occupiers will be attracted by the benefits of direct motorway access, in addition to the existing benefits of excellent rail and port access.”
“The South West and Wales accounted for a quarter of the UK’s 10.2m sq ft of industrial take-up in the first half of 2016, and most of that resulted from major letting deals at Central Park, including The Range at 1.2m sq ft and Lidl at 600,000 sq ft.
“These deals will bring thousands of jobs to the area, and the improved infrastructure resulting from the new M49 junction will help establish the Avonmouth/Severnside Enterprise Area as one of the most sought-after industrial and logistics locations in the UK.”