£9.2million funding secured towards highway improvements
Another key milestone has been reached in improving Wokingham Borough’s road network as the council is awarded £9.2million towards two new roads. These schemes have been backed through the Government’s Business Rates Retention Pilot, which means money collected through business rates in the borough goes back into the borough’s infrastructure, and the Local Growth Fund.
£5million will go towards the Eastern Gateway project, part of the South Wokingham Distributor Road, while £4.2million will contribute towards improvements at Barkham Bridge. As part of improving sustainable transport in the borough, both schemes also include improved and better connected routes for cyclists and pedestrians. Both are part of the planned infrastructure to support new agreed housing development in the borough.
The Eastern Gateway will join William Heelas Way to Waterloo Road to the south of the railway line and is part of the South Wokingham Distributor Road that will, once complete, join the London Road to Finchampstead Road. The Eastern Gateway section includes a new road bridge over the Reading-Waterloo rail line, allowing Network Rail to close the level crossing on Waterloo Road.
Funding for this project comes via the Business Rates Retention Pilot. The total cost of the scheme is expected to be £20million, with the remaining funding from housing developers in the area (known as ‘developer contributions’).
The Barkham Bridge project will replace the single carriageway section of Barkham Road where vehicles currently have to give way and wait to cross the bridge. The new bridge is to be built south of the existing structure, which will be converted to a shared footway/cycleway, connecting the existing sections of footway to the east and west.
The grant for this project comes via the Local Growth Fund, administered by the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, recognising the project’s value to the local area and its economy. The total cost of the scheme is expected to be £7.5 million, with the rest coming from developer contributions.
The council is committing substantial investment secured from the developers of approximately £1billion, which will be spent on a wide range of infrastructure including new schools, open spaces and leisure facilities, community facilities and roads.
“We are delighted to have been awarded this funding from the Local Growth Fund and the Business Rates Retention Pilot,” said Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, executive member for highways and transport. “We have a comprehensive programme of infrastructure improvements across the borough, which will benefit existing and new residents. I am very pleased to see this come together and receive support from our partners at the LEP and central Government.”
Pre-construction work for the projects has been underway for some time and construction is expected to begin on both these key projects in the coming months.
Road users are advised to check the council website and Facebook and Twitter traffic and travel pages, as well as one.network, to help plan journeys in advance.