Bristol M49: The £50m motorway junction which remains a dead end

The motorway junction should connect to Central Park, a large warehouse and distribution centre used by companies such as Tesco, Lidl and Amazon, but the linking road is still unbuilt.

A £50million motorway junction near Bristol was built nearly two years ago - but it remains a dead end.

The junction is supposed to link Central Park - a large warehouse and distribution centre used by Tesco, Lidl and Amazon - to the M49.

But a linking road is yet to be built because of a battle over who is responsible for connecting the new junction to the road network.

In January, South Gloucestershire Council said the business park’s owners - Delta Properties - were responsible for building the link road, but the company has refuted the claim saying it has “no legal obligation” to provide it.

Last month, the council said it was the joint responsibility of Delta and National Highways, who together own the strip of land on which the access road needs to be built.

But the council has now made the decision to deliver the link road, in what it says is an “important step forwards” to end the deadlock over the dead-end motorway junction near Avonmouth.

The council’s ruling Conservative cabinet made the decision behind closed doors “to approve the officer recommendations to deliver the link road to join the new M49 junction with the local highway network”.

No other details have been released, but an announcement is expected in the next few days.

Asked whether the council could share any more details with the Local Democracy Reporting Service, a spokesperson said: “Our cabinet has agreed an approach with the Department for Transport and National Highways that will help the delivery of the M49 link road.

“This decision is an important step forwards and will allow us to progress work with our partners in delivering the M49 link to unlock the significant benefits that it will bring to South Gloucestershire, local communities and the wider region.”

Meanwhile, the situation is causing havoc for people living in the surrounding villages, according to a parish councillor.

Pilning and Severn Beach Parish Council chairman Peter Tyzack said: “All the traffic that would be going on the motorway is coming through the villages, which is a nightmare for us."

He said he does not expect the link road to be finished and ready for use until late next year at the earliest, because of the “legal hoops” involved and the extra time it takes to prepare a flood plain before it can be built on. 

“From the day they dig the first turf, it’ll be 12 months before the road can be opened,” he said. “We’ll be lucky if we get it open for next Christmas.”

Delta Properties said last month that “excellent progress” was being made towards building the road but blamed an occupier at the business park for delaying progress.

Credit: Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporter.