Report comes as a relief to council

Cllr Peter Butlin, Warwickshire County Council's Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transport with the announcement of results of a study commissioned on the impact of the Western Relief Road a year after its opening.
Cllr Peter Butlin, Warwickshire County Council's Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transport with the announcement of results of a study commissioned on the impact of the Western Relief Road a year after its opening.

A YEAR after it opened, the Western Relief Road is the subject of a glowing report - but some are still unhappy it ran so far over budget.

The study, conducted last month, found there is almost 30 per cent less traffic on Bilton Road, 28 per less on Newbold Road and 26 per cent less on the A428 at Church Lawford than there was last year.

Currently 15,159 trips are made on the Lawford Road to Newbold section of the new road (including both north and southbound traffic), an increase of 30 per cent on last year’s figure. The road, which opened last year, cost £60m and was £24m over budget.

Despite the encouraging figures, Cllr Jerry Roodhouse, leader of the county’s Liberal Democrat group, believes the report “missed the point”.

He said: “The report shows that the Western Relief Road has provided a cost saving to travellers. They have missed the point - my concerns were that we would have a greater benefit to local tax payers if they had not massively overspent on the project. Mistakes were made and those responsible need to hold their hands up and say so.”

The Western Relief Road is three-and-three-quarter miles long and was built to relieve traffic congestion in and around the town caused by new developments.

Cllr Peter Butlin, Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for highways and transport, said: “These figures are proof that the road is achieving everything we expected and Rugby is seeing the benefit of it.

“The road has taken traffic away from traditional hot spots and we have had a lot of positive feedback from motorists and residents in the year since it opened.

“It has made journey times quicker and helped to mitigate potential environmental impact by reducing noise and air pollution within the town centre. It is also responsible for creating better conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.

“It is also worth noting the economic benefits. By using the Government’s cost-benefit ratio calculation, for every £1 spent, the road is bringing £4.50 of benefit to Rugby’s economy.”