Dr Luke Evans, Member of Parliament for Bosworth, was the keynote speaker at a conference on the A5, where local stakeholders came together on Friday 21st October to discuss much-needed improvements. Councillors, businesses and National Highways all came together to discuss how they can collectively drive the project forward.
The 53-mile stretch of the A5, currently home to nearly 3 million people and supporting over 1.3 million jobs, was the subject of a morning of speeches and lobbying regarding the strategic and economic importance of the A5 to the region.
Local politicians have been calling for improvements to the A5 for several years, with £20 million spent in 2020 on further work as part of the national road improvement strategy. The road will soon again be competing against other projects across the country for the next stage of funding.
The A5 is a key part of what has become the golden triangle of logistics, which covers 289 square miles in the East and West Midlands and is within a four hour drive of 90% of the British population. The conference concluded with attendees in agreement that changes to the A5 offers a prime opportunity for improving connectivity, business opportunities and the lives of commuters and local communities.
The A5 corridor currently creates £22 billion in gross value added each year, but without the necessary improvements “it is acting as a straitjacket to our economic growth and prosperity” said Dr Luke Evans, MP for Bosworth.
The central section, stretching from Junction 10 of the M42 to J1 of the M69, supports almost 10% (500,000) of the jobs in the region and is travelled on by nearly 25,000 vehicle a day but Midlands Connect have recently found that routine journeys can take up to 36% longer in peak hours.
Dr Luke Evans, Bosworth’s MP, said “Today’s conference was a fantastic opportunity for stakeholders and local representatives to come together and continue making the case for improvements.
“Last year the Watling Street bridge was the most bashed bridge in Britain, this year it has dropped to sixth but is still hit an average of once every two weeks. I’m calling for the road under the bridge to be lowered, stopping so many accidents and, importantly, saving local people valuable time.
“Another essential improvement is dualling. The stretch of the central corridor leading from Hinckley to Rugby has been dualled in large parts and, as such, runs much smoother. Data gathered by Midlands Connect shows that people lose an average of £17,500 a day by sitting in traffic, caused by delays and bottlenecks. I hear time and time again that this is detrimentally impacting the lives of local people.
“My main message to all stakeholders is that we need to keep making the case to Government and National Highways, because to unlock the full potential of our region we need improvements to local infrastructure.”