Melksham bypass: Plans revealed for £135million project

  • Watch Caron Bell's report

Wiltshire Council is asking for the public's opinion on plans to build a £135million bypass round Melksham - with 12 possible routes proposed.

The aim is to reduce congestion and pollution on the A350, one of the West's main roads. But the plans have upset environmentalists, who say a bypass will cause irreversible damage to surrounding countryside.

According to council analysis, approximately 35,000 vehicles a day use the Melksham stretch of the A350 - eight per cent of them are HGVs and 40 per cent is through-traffic.

Running from the port of Poole in Dorset all the way to the M4 north of Chippenham, the A350 is economically vital. But although it bypasses towns like Chippenham, it runs through part of Melksham; through 30mph residential areas prone to congestion.


vehicles a day use the A350 through Melksham

Wiltshire Council's plans are still vague. In its initial public consultation, it has proposed 12 possible routes. But all of them would mean the destruction of local greenfield land and wildlife habitats.

Environmental groups like the Campaign to Protect Rural England say road-building is not the direction society should be travelling in.

The council has proposed options for improving traffic flow without building a new road, but says these plans are unlikely to solve the A350's problems on their own.

The different bypass route options being considered by Wiltshire Council. Credit: ITV News

The final decision, and funding, will be up to central government rather than Wiltshire Council. Even if bypass plans were approved by the Secretary of State, construction would not start until 2024, and the road would not open until 2027.

You can take part in the council's public consultation by clicking here. It ends on 30 November.

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